Posts filed under ‘Expats’

Senior Care/Senior Living Options at Lake Chapala, Mexico

Not long ago I addressed a group of Canadians and Americans at an Open Circle chat at the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic, Mexico. Most of the attendees were full-time residents with the lay of the land, but curious newcomers attended as well.

The most meaningful part of the presentation?  Introducing American and Mexican senior living owners to the audience. After the chat they were able to become acquainted with one another.

In the photo below, four Mexican registered nurse owners are represented. I am the person holding the microphone.

FotoSeniorLivingProvidersLakeChapala

Senior Care Specialist Wendy Jane Carrel introduces owners of Senior Homes at Lake Chapala to Americans and Canadians

Senior Housing Forum posted my article based on the talk.. See http://tinyurl.com/zoz9zdf or https://www.seniorhousingforum.net/blog/2016/8/3/will-mexico-solve-senior-living-affordability-problem  to read the entire piece, or,  read below…

Will Mexico Solve the Senior Living Affordability Problem?

Published on Wed, 08/03/2016 – 4:55pm

By Wendy Jane Carrel, wellnessshepherd.com

If you cannot afford healthcare or retirement in Canada or the U.S., what are your options? Where do you look?

For the last five decades, and especially since the U.S. economic challenges that became apparent in 2007-2008, retirees have been choosing destinations in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Despite news about crime and drug cartels, Mexico reigns as the number one choice for most American and Canadians, primarily because of its lower costs, warmer weather, health care choices, and location so close to home.

According to U.S. Consulates in Mexico there is a current count of between 1.2 – 1.4 million Americans living in Baja California, Cancun, Lake Chapala, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel Allende, and other areas. (The number also includes Americans who are not retired). According to the Canadian Consulate in Guadalajara and the Canadians Abroad Registry, approximately 10,000 Canadians are registered in high season and 1,500 are registered as retired full time in Mexico. Not all Canadians register.

Choices for senior living in Mexico are not all that dissimilar to those in Canada and the U.S.:

  • Aging in Place – independent living in your own home or apartment

  • Aging in Community – co-housing

  • Assisted Living – if you require care and cannot afford full-time care at home

  • Nursing Care and Rehabilitation

Lake Chapala

Currently, at Lake Chapala, Mexico there are in the neighborhood of 20,000 retired Americans and Canadians.

North shore Lake Chapala, which includes the communities of Ajijic, Chapala, Jocotepec, San Antonio, and San Juan Cosala (40 minutes drive time from one end of north shore to the other), has several options for senior living with others being planned.

What is different from Canada and the U.S. is the cost of living, especially for health care, often up to two-thirds less.

What is also different is that there are no Life Planning (continuing care) models at Lake Chapala. A project was planned three years ago and has yet to be built. There is one, however, that will open in Mexico City sometime this fall.

Another difference is that in Canada and the U.S. Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are in separate areas on a campus. In most of Mexico, dementia patients are living and sharing the same space with older adults who have mobility issues, not dementia issues, and the care is rarely specialized.

Mexican senior homes are under the purview of the Ministry of Public Health and local fire departments. They are not tightly regulated and inspected as they are in Canada and the U.S.

What is available at Lake Chapala now?

  • Three co-housing/independent living options – one in Ajijic with three individual apartments and five casitas, a pool, lakeside views, and two meals a day; one in Riberas del Pilar on two levels where residents have their own apartment, are provided with two meals a day, and have access to a library, a gym, and a pool; and one in San Juan Cosala, focusing on health, green living, and sustainability.

    At the first two if you become immobile or develop serious health issues you would need to move. At the property in San Juan Cosala (in development) you can invite caregivers to your living quarters.

  • Three assisted living homes specializing in Alzheimer’s and dementia care – one is run by a geriatrician and a nurse, the other two by nurses with doctors on call. One of these homes plans to add a second home in the near future for a total of four dedicated Alzheimer’s care homes at the lake to meet the growing need.

  • Six homes combine assisted living, nursing and some rehabilitation.

    That number climbs to seven if you include two rooms above the offices of a physician in Ajijic (no rehab), and 9 if you include one owner who has three homes (no rehab).

    It climbs to 10 choices with an American-owned recovery care center for plastic surgery (more like a B & B) where you can also rent suites. The recovery center has been in existence for almost 20 years.

    The total number of choices reaches 11 if you include a low-income senior home in Chapala which also has Mexican residents.

  • Four properties have owners who live on site. These properties are either American- or Canadian-owned, or, owned by English-speaking Mexicans who focus on serving the expat community. There usually is one person who speaks English at the senior living options at Lake Chapala.

The above-mentioned places are private pay. Monthly costs for private pay assisted living at Lake Chapala range between $1,000 and $2,000 U.S. per month except for the home in Chapala. (The average U.S. private pay is $3200-$3500, and up to $12,000/month or more for Alzheimer’s care).

Most care homes at the lake have 12 or fewer residents. Service is considered personalized. In many instances there is the quality of “carino,” caregivers treating you like a lovable member of the family.

There are 125 senior living homes in the state of Jalisco, housing 1,723 elders. These numbers include only Mexican citizens. Not included are Americans and Canadians at Lake Chapala or in Puerto Vallarta. There are approximately 758,000 older adults in Jalisco state.

In Guadalajara, an hour from Lake Chapala, there are three models of senior care – private pay, non-profit care primarily with nuns (usually excellent quality), and government care (usually DIF, a social services entity that exists throughout Mexico). Prices range from gratis for the indigent to around $400-$800 U.S. for those with pensions, and up to $3500 U.S. for private pay.

Note: I have met Americans with incomes of $600 or less/month who are living comfortably and safely in Mexican assisted living homes throughout the country.

Resources:

Canadian retirees make new homes in Mexico

Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia National Institute of Statistics and Geography

US State Department – Relations with Mexico

* Cover photo of Lake Chapala courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
** Map of Lake Chapala region courtesy of mexico-insights.com

 

August 4, 2016 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

Mexican Palliative Care Thought Leader Dr. Susana Lua Speaks to Expats about Unmet Pain Relief Needs

Dra Susana Lua Nava, a palliative care physician based in Guadalajara, Mexico, spoke to over 200 North Americans and locals at Open Circle on the Lake Chapala Society grounds in Ajijic, Mexico about pain relief for chronic conditions and end-of-life.

Her passionate presentation about the unmet needs in Jalisco state and throughout the country triggered many questions from the audience, plus more interest in bringing such services to the lake. Lake Chapala is about an hour’s drive from Mexico’s second largest city Guadalajara. An estimated 20,000 North Americans reside there during high season.

Dra Susan Lua Nava, palliative care physician, addresses Open Circle

Dra Susan Lua Nava, palliative care physician, addresses Open Circle

It is a goal of Dra Lua’s non-profit Juntos Contra el Dolor, A.C., (United Against Pain), http://www.juntoscontraeldolor.com, to educate communities throughout Mexico about what palliative care is, and show how to offer comfort care to those with life-limiting diseases. Ideally, there would be models for this care in each state. Currently, palliative care is primarily found in three large cities at regional hospitals – Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey.

In 2009 the Ministry of Public Health of Mexico established guidelines for palliative care entitling all residents of the nation to relief from pain. The challenge has been that most people do not know exactly what palliative care is, nor where to find it. Palliative medicine is often confused with pain clinics which may offer medications but do not necessarily include a holistic support team for the patient and family members during such trying times.

As of yet, there is no dedicated palliative care/hospice team  – physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, clergy, and volunteers working together at Lake Chapala. There have been previous efforts to establish a hospice.  (The main cities at the lake are Ajijic, Chapala, San Juan Cosala, and Jocotopec. It takes around 40 minutes to drive from Chapala on the east end to Jocotopec on the western end).

There are a number of highly talented retired palliative care and hospice administrators, physicians, nurses, clergy, social workers, and others from Canada, the U.S., South Africa, and other countries at the lake. Several groups have formed to discuss how to establish a service that can serve all populations and will endure.

DVDs of the chat by Dra Lua can be ordered at http://www.opencircle-ajijic.org

DSCN1311

Wendy Jane Carrel acts as translator for Dr. Lua’s talk on palliative care in Mexico

I performed a Cliff Notes version of Dr. Lua’s talk as there was much to cover in a short amount of time.

A week after the presentation to North Americans, Dr. Lua gave a public health talk on the same subject to local Mexicans at the Ajijic Cultural Center.

June 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm 2 comments

Cotacachi Health Chapters, Ecuador End-of-Life Planning Discussion

On June 7, 2015 I had the pleasure of speaking to the Cotacachi Health Chapters group at Gran Hotel Primitivo about End-of-Life Planning for Norte Americanos. (Cotacachi is a charming Andean city 2 1/2 hours from Quito).

My hosts were community organizer Caroline Goering – a true delight – and a team of other amazing, supportive people – Dan and Janda Grove, Mike and Linda Munhall, and Bill and Ann Henry. What to do in case of a health emergency, especially if you don’t speak Spanish, is their focus.

Caroline introduces Wendy

Caroline introduces Wendy Jane Carrel

Cotacachi Health Group, June 2015

Cotacachi Health Group

 

school marm...

school marm…

We discussed physicians, who to call and why, transportation, the importance of having end-of-life documents prepared, attorneys and notaries, cremation options, and disposition of remains to North America.

Fortunately, bi-lingual nurse practitioner Mary Grover, a former Peace Corps volunteer, can be of service to the estimated 200 expats in the area. I introduced Mary to those who had not met her.

A special thanks to CHC for the invitation. I was exhausted by the time I arrived, but content to meet a group that understands the importance of planning ahead, just in case, when living abroad.

October 11, 2015 at 4:14 am 3 comments

End-of-Life Planning Discussion at Cuenca Chamber of Commerce, May 6

In March, I published an article on the importance of End-of-Life Planning for North Americans and others who live overseas.  Here is a link to the article in case you missed it.

http://cuencahighlife.com/why-creating-an-end-of-life-plan-in-ecuador-is-a-good-idea-for-expats/

There was quite a bit of response. Most responders asked for a seminar.

For those of you who missed announcements in Cuenca High Life, Gringo Post, and Gringo Tree the last few days, here below is the information for the event which will  focus on three main subjects:

1. Why you need a physician ahead of time

2.  Why you need a legal document (an Ecuadorian document if you reside in Ecuador) stating your end-of-life wishes

3.  What the process is for cremation and why it is so difficult

95anios-banner-mailing

Cuenca Chamber of Commerce Sponsors End-of-Life Planning Discussion Wednesday, May 6

Mark your calendars for 11:00 am Wednesday, May 6 for an important discussion on End-of-Life legal matters and cremation/burial options in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Senior care consultant Wendy Jane Carrel will moderate a panel with attorney Grace Velastegui and Camposanto Santa Ana Funeral and Cemetery General Director Simon Toral.

Presentations will be followed by a question and answer session to address your pressing concerns.

May 6, 2015 11:00 a.m.
Cuenca Chamber of Commerce 3rd floor (there is an elevator)
Federico Malo y 12 de Abril facing Parque de la Madre (view map)
Cuenca

☎ 07 284-2772 ext 233 attn: Gabriela Maldonado

Here below is a photo from the May 6 meeting, deemed a success by the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce.  Almost 250 persons were in attendance.  There are approximately 10,000 North Americans resident in Cuenca , Loja/Vilcabamba, and places in-between.

Director General Simon Toral, Attorney Grace Velastegui, Senior Care Consultant Wendy Jane Carrel, Chamber President Atty Jaime Moreno

Director General Simon Toral, Attorney Grace Velastegui, Senior Care Consultant Wendy Jane Carrel, Chamber President Atty Jaime Moren

May 3, 2015 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

Guidelines for Choosing a Healthful Home or Apartment in Ecuador

Here below is a link to an article I posted on http://www.CuencaHighLife.com offering 12 key guidelines for selecting a healthful living environment in Ecuador or wherever else you choose to be.

See http://cuencahighlife.com/choosing-the-right-environments-for-healthful-living/

wide doors for easy access, glass panels for energy of light

wide doors for easy access, glass door panels for energy of light

concrete pavers instead of slippery tile or marble, safer when raining

concrete entry pavers instead of slippery tile or marble, safer to walk on when raining

round, soft furniture, no edges to hurt yourself

round, soft furniture, no edges to hurt yourself

April 9, 2015 at 7:22 am 2 comments

Why Creating an End-of-Life Plan When Living Abroad Is a Good Idea

Here below is a link to an article I wrote that was posted on CuencaHighLife.  It’s about the importance of creating an end-of-life plan if you live in Ecuador.  The bigger message is that it is wise to have such a plan in place where ever you chose to live.

Ecuador, is ruled by civil law. North America and England are ruled by common law. Different systems, different procedures.

Why creating an end-of-life plan in Ecuador is a good idea for expats | CuencaHighLife.

 

Camposanto Santa Ana, a    cemetery in Cuenca, Ecuador

Camposanto Santa Ana, a
cemetery in Cuenca, Ecuador

March 5, 2015 at 12:01 am Leave a comment