Tied to concerns about health care, some expats and future expats are also looking into what would happen if they were to retire overseas and then become too ill to take care of themselves. Mexico is working on an answer.
As the US population ages, and as more and more Americans decide to retire abroad, Assisted Living is becoming big business in Mexico. It even has its own non-profit organization! AMAR is the Asociacion Mexicana de Asistencia en el Retiro in Spanish, the Mexican Association for Retirement Communities in English. It’s a not-for-profit company that helps retirees find independent or assisted living communities in Mexico.
Their mission is to encourage the development of the senior living market and to continually improve the quality of life standards among retirement communities in Mexico. It should be noted that assisted living facilities are largely unregulated, although AMAR is committed to creating US-style standards for the industry.
The organization’s founder, Javier Godinez-Villegas, estimates that about 3 million US expats will join the million or so already in Mexico within the next 10 years. Other estimates place the number closer to 10 million by 2025. That, added to the shortage of affordable assisted living facilities in the US, creates a huge opportunity for Mexican developers. The organization held its first convention last September in Mexico City.
Not surprisingly, the first places to see assisted living facilities geared toward Americans are areas considered to be expat havens.
Serena Senior Care opened a center in Rosarito, Mexico, last May, and is targeting two groups: the elderly already needing their services, and their younger, baby-boomer children. Their website states:
“Residents will have lodging, all meals, housekeeping, personal care by trained nurses and caregivers, supervision from a Geriatrician, social activities, physical therapy, and many other services. This new service is a great value, with an affordable monthly fee that is about 50% the cost of comparable services in California, but with the distinctive warm hospitality of Mexico.”
San Miguel de Allende, long an expat haven in the Colonial highlands of Mexico, is home to Cielito Lindo. According to a USA Today article, Oregon retiree Jean Douglas found a studio apartment, meals, cleaning and laundry services and 24-hour care from a mostly English-speaking staff – all for about a quarter of what she would have paid back home.
Laredo native Jean Edwards, interviewed by the Dallas News at Cielito Lindo, felt that the Mexican culture places more value on elderly people and caring for them.
According to an ABC News report, an elderly Alzheimer’s patient receives a place to live, 24-hour care, and a weekly house call from a doctor, all for $1,000 per month. In the US, that level of care would cost about $13,000 monthly.
I’m sure we’ll see more of these in other countries as well, as the US economy continues weak and health care does not improve.
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