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Seniors make a run for the border

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More seniors are heading to Mexico for nursing home care, where sunshine is plentiful and the care is cheap.For a fraction of the cost of a nursing home in the U.S., seniors can enjoy private living quarters, three meals a day, laundry and cleaning services and round-the-clock care from caring staff, many of whom speak English.

Mexican nursing home managers expect a wave of patients as millions of baby boomers find the cost of care at home untenable. According to Dave Warner, a public affairs professor at the University of Texas, somewhere between 40,000 to 80,000 American retirees currently live in Mexico in enclaves such as San Miguel de Allende or the Lake Chapala area. How many of them have chosen nursing home care is not known, but there are five such facilities on Lake Chapala alone.

Of those who do not require nursing home care, many have elected to receive in-home care from Mexican nurses who charge much less than nurses back home. In either case, the quality of Mexican healthcare can vary widely in a country where seniors are usually taken care of by family members. The newly minted Mexican nursing-home industry is poorly regulated compared to the U.S.

An example of what can be had in Lake Chapala: A cottage with a living room, bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom, walk-in closet and shared patio, plus board and 24-hour care for $550 per month– one-tenth of the rate in some parts of the U.S. New facilities are cropping up each year as Mexican entrepreneurs prepare to meet this growing demand for south-of-the-border care.


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