Medical Tourism: A Conversation About Continuous Care

Billy and Akaisha are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

This is part of our series on medical tourism, an increasingly popular option for travelers to find quality health care overseas at a fraction of the price they would at home.

Age-Related Concerns

According to Pew Research, approximately 10,000 Boomers turn 65 each day over the next 16 years. While being 65 isn’t necessarily old, questions about continuing care and assisted living seem to loom on the horizon more largely for us than before.

Navigating through contracts, comparing the often nonrefundable hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars entrance fees, and considering the financial effects of paying $3,000 to $7,000 per month for lifestyle and care costs can be enough to create a super storm of agitation and fear.

Even in the best situations there are compromises to be made. And you may find yourself suffering from guilt over making sure your loved one gets the care they need and balancing that with what you can afford. Unless you have insurance that pays for long-term care or the solid wealth to cover these costs, this topic can be a dismal one.

Providing this level of attention for your spouse or family member in your own home also requires sacrifices and involves costs. In the States, if you hire an independent contractor to help out, you could be liable for an injury should they receive one while in your employ. Consequently, your personal pockets must be deep to cover this possibility or a contract must be signed that explains which party is responsible for what. The complexity level ratchets up quickly.

What Can You Do?

La Valentina - Medical Tourism: A Conversation About Continuous Care - Frayed Passport

La Valentina

There are alternatives available, but few people know about them.

Recently I was doing some research on continuing care in Mexico, and I came upon a comparison of nursing home and assisted living care in the Lakeside Expat community of Chapala. Here, the cost for these services ranges from $1,000 to $2,000USD per month, depending upon the room you choose, the facility’s location and the amount of care needed.

Now before you dismiss moving to Mexico yourself or transporting a loved one to this country for their final years, take the time to read on.

As with any choice, there is no one-size-fits-all, and even this lower-cost option won’t appeal to the majority of Canadians and Americans. Why? Because the concept of leaving one’s homeland and what is familiar is just too big a leap. But for those whose finances dictate—or for those who want temperate climate, personalized care, a home-like atmosphere and the possibility of having a pet—these Mexican convalescent homes, nursing homes and continuing care facilities offer what you wouldn’t be able to afford up north.

Viable Options

Alicias Convalescent Complex - Medical Tourism: A Conversation About Continuous Care - Frayed Passport

Alicia’s Convalescent Complex

Take La Valentina Seniors Residence and Convalescent Home in Mexico. Here, biotherapist owner Martha Benavides provides all-natural organic meals, spa treatments, massage, medical supervision, activities, housekeeping, laundry services and local transportation for $1,600 to $2,000 monthly. There is a full-time nurse on site and apartments come with a mini-fridge and microwave. A community dining room and kitchen are also available.

If you are moderately disabled or a bit more than forgetful, La Casa Azul, owned by gerontologist Dr. Roberto Martinez Ramos, offers 24-hour medical and nursing services. If you can’t bear to part from your pet, you may bring him to live with you.

Alicia’s Convalescent Complex has several levels of care. She tends to those who are ambulatory, offers “middle care” for those who need more assistance and also has facilities for Alzheimers and dementia patients. Fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, daily meals, cleaning service, a pool, and 24-hour attention are all offered depending on which home you choose. Some rooms have a private bath. Telephone, wireless Internet service, and local transportation are available.

All of these facilities are in the same price range, and if you would like to know more about them or others in this area of Mexico, you may click on the Care Facilities in Mexico page at Retire Early Lifestyle.

This decision is not one to take lightly, and it impacts you emotionally as well as financially. But just knowing that there are alternatives can ease the pressure you feel. The changes that are required to one’s routine and lifestyle are enough to go through without having feelings of angst and fear over going broke being added to them.