SENIOR AND EX-PAT HEALTH, HOUSING, HOSPICE OPTIONS IN ECUADOR and MEXICO
I knew when we moved to Mexico our most challenging transition would be getting the medical support we would need….unknown to me it would be ten times more complicated for both my partner and myself. You see, I developed myasthenia gravis within 60 days of moving lakeside – a rare auto-immune disease that affects muscle groups including the eyes, limbs and lungs. Were it not for Wendy I would still be beating my chest wondering what I could do to find the right doctors to diagnose and treat this overbearing condition and its disastrous and sudden onset – and that is exactly what Wendy did. She didn’t just find a doctor – SHE BECAME MY PERSONAL ADVOCATE – checking in regularly to make sure the Mexican medical system was responding – that the doctor-patient dialogue was going properly, medicines were available and accessible, and that most brilliantly, my state of mind was positive. She suggested a team which included doctors, yoga (to reduce stress), massage therapy for the muscles. Now the team has increased to include an eye doctor and a back-up doctor to increase the depth of the conversation. Bless you Wendy…..I do not know how we would have done this without you.
– Saul Wiener, resident at Lake Chapala, Mexico
My spouse and I couldn’t help falling in love with Wendy! She is not only a kind and compassionate person, but also a senior care professional who offers a wealth of resources, relationships, and pertinent medical and emergency information we all might need one day at the lake or in Guadalajara.
When we moved to the Lake Chapala area in 2016, I was in severe pain from a leg amputation that occurred years before. I tried to stop taking pain medication, but the pain became so severe I consulted with two Lakeside neuropathy and pain specialists who advised spinal surgery for $15,000 USD, not including hospital costs, or to have a small, experimental device implanted in my chest that is supposed to block nerve pain, at a cost of $28,000 USD. My partner and I realized neither of these procedures/surgeries might be the best solution. That’s when we met Wendy who brought a palliative care physician, a thought leader in reducing chronic pain, to our home. The goal was to diminish the number of meds and titrate meds for my comfort and well-being. Unfortunately, after a few months, this physician who had a non-aggressive medical approach I appreciated, couldn’t keep driving back and forth to the lake as there were about 65-70 patients in Guadalajara under her care as well. Wendy then introduced me to another compatible physician, a local one, who has also been able to treat my pain with the objective of reducing meds so I could feel cogent.
I can’t imagine what we would have done if Wendy hadn’t come into our lives at a critical time. She is a tenacious advocate for those who put their trust in her.
She has also coached us on the importance of having Mexican end-of-life paper work in hand (health directives, etc). She’s had us fill in forms with our wishes which we will soon to take to our “notario”. Thanks to her, we will have a plan in case of an emergency.
– Robert Jordan, resident at Lake Chapala, Mexico
My husband was diagnosed with cancer in January, 2017, and died after a short 3 months. We were introduced to Wendy not too long after his diagnosis; she became a Godsend for us those last months. We were strapped for funds at the time with no medical insurance, and Wendy connected us with a wonderful non-profit palliative care center she was working with. My husband’s cancer was aggressive and already past the point of being treatable. We were able to keep him quite comfortable and care for him at home.
Wendy’s expertise as a palliative care liaison and guide is only exceeded by her loving and compassionate nature. She was a source of comfort not only for my husband, but also for me. She has since become a trusted close friend and continues to check with me regarding my well-being. Wendy goes the extra mile and then some, in order to serve – she is truly an angel!
– Karen B, Lake Chapala resident
We have been pleased to know & work with Wendy as a senior care resource for many years. We became aware of her services while living in Cuenca, Ecuador. She helped us plan our health needs in both Ecuador & at Lake Chapala, Mexico. She guided us in establishing an End of Life document which we were not anxious to create. She held our “feet to the fire” insisting we think of our future & how important it was to have this document, especially living in a country (with a different legal system). We love Wendy & consider her to be like a member of our family.
– Jill Kimmel, former resident at Lake Chapala, Mexico
– Cleo Dioletis, OTR, broke leg while traveling, supported thru surgery and rehabilitation
I was very blessed to have come into contact with Wendy prior to our move to Cuenca, Ecuador. Researching living arrangements for my senior mother had been a bit of a challenge. Though having my mother live with our family was always an option, I was hoping for a place with skilled nursing care and a physician. Wendy came to meet with us once we arrived. She spent time assessing my mother, explained the options, took us to the facility we decided upon, and got my mother admitted. Wendy has great credentials and experience, plus language and cultural skills. Even more important is how she has developed relationships within the community and how much she cares andadvocates for seniors. We consider Wendy a close friend now and couldn’t be happier with what she has done for my mother.
– Mike Holmes, son of dementia patient
Wendy is a very kind and good person. She is also very intelligent, organized, and incredibly efficient at achieving results with difficult bureaucratic problems.
Wendy, who is quite experienced with hospice work, first sat as a hospice volunteer to aid my wife in her departure. I then needed help for the cremation. Getting a cremation done is a complicated bureaucratic nightmare. I saw an entirely different side to Wendy as she swung into action to help me get it done within 24 hours. She knew what was needed, and how to do everything that was needed, efficiently, and economically.
Our first hurdle was to get the crematorium to accept the body. It was 9 o’clock in the morning and bodies were were not accepted until 1 o’clock. Wendy and the ambulance driver were able to convince the head of the crematorium to bend the rules and accept the remains. We needed to get a notarized statement that I had legal authority to request the action. Wendy knew the right notary to go to, and when we got there, Wendy and I were the next persons served, ahead of about 10 to 12 other people who were waiting. I realize the foregoing might sound a bit pushy, but when time is of the essence, and you need to get the form completed and turned in across town, in the next hour, or it doesn’t happened today, I was more than okay that we were given priority.
Finally, Wendy convinced the head of the crematorium to come back at 5 PM from his home and work for 4 1/2 hours so that this could get done. Obviously, Wendy’s negotiating skills in Spanish are very strong to be able to accomplish this.
I can honestly say, I cannot imagine a better person to help anyone in Cuenca.
– Tom Northcote, attorney
Wendy is responsible for helping me find a suitable short term fix and potential long-term help for my stroke survivor husband. She is caring and very knowledgeable. She has a deep understanding and appreciation of the needs and challenges of elders and their caregiver loved ones. She is attentive and genuinely interested in addressing the needs and issues of the patient. I can wholeheartedly recommend Wendy’s services.
– Miriam Drake, former medical group administrator and psychotherapist, caregiver for her husband who suffered a stroke and later died of complications
My mom is in her 90’s and was in need of assisted living. Not knowing much about the options available, I enlisted the help of Wendy to find a suitable place. Wendy has years of senior care experience and a good knowledge of eldercare facilities available in Ecuador. This proved to be a very helpful service for me. Wendy was able to find a place my mother is very comfortable in. Wendy’s ability to communicate my mother’s needs in Spanish has been helpful as most caregivers speak little to no English. I highly recommend Wendy.
– EV, daughter of senior who needed placement