South of the Border for Savings
Mexico Offers Full-Time Assisted Living Developments
at Half the Price
By JEFFREY KOFMAN
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico
Jan. 27, 2009—
At 76, Margie Hill and her husband, Homer, weren't quite
ready for a nursing home. But they needed help around the
house. So, three months ago, they moved from their home in
Albuquerque, N.M., to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to be near
What they quickly discovered is that Mexico affords them the
kind of retirement that would have been beyond their means in
the United States.
"Never, ever in my life did I ever think that I would retire
in Mexico," Homer Hill said. "One of the factors we liked, too,
is having the assistance you need at a price we could
When Hill retired, he never imagined he'd be able to afford
a housekeeper who cooks and cleans, six days a week. The Hills'
full-time retirement help costs less than a $100 a week.
"In Albuquerque, we could not afford that permanently like
we do here," Hill said.
The Hills have a better lifestyle in Mexico than they'd have
anywhere in the United States. Less expense for everything from
groceries to labor has allowed the Hills to hire their
housekeeper, Gaby, full-time and someone to do heavy-lifting
and tend to the yard.
With millions of baby boomers facing retirement just as
their funds are getting hammered by the economic turmoil, many
are facing the prospect of not being able to retire in the
manner they had hoped, especially if they need assistance in
their later years. Mexico believes it has a solution.
"We know that there's a big group of baby boomers who need
to be someplace, and because we know we can offer much better
prices, and very good service, we're trying to do this
business," said Sergio Chazaro, a developer preparing to open
one of Mexico's first assisted-living communities.
Chazaro is part of this emerging industry in Mexico,
designed to cater specifically to aging U.S. retirees. In a few
weeks, he will welcome his first patient at Cielito Lindo, an
assisted-living facility in San Miguel de Allende that offers
accommodations, food and nursing care for about $1,400 a month.
That level of service would cost $6,000 a month or more in the
The sun sets over the town of Sayulita, Mexico, where 10
assisted-living facilities catering to Americans are open or
(Emily Hinchcliff/AP Photo)
Assisted-Living Facilities Break Ground in Mexico
"We have thought that being so close to the United States,
it can be a very interesting thing to happen, that many of them
would move here for a better price, a better climate and
marvelous attention," Chazaro said.
On top of low prices, retirees get a stunning location in
the mountains a half-hour outside the picturesque colonial city
of San Miguel de Allende, a popular retirement spot for
Americans, where music festivals, cinema and cultural events
are a big part of the attraction for the 8,000 Americans and
Canadians who call San Miguel home.
Chazaro has built the development to cater to retirees like
the Hills, who plan on transitioning from retirement to
assisted living in the coming years. When it opens in the
spring, Cielito Lindo will provide the option of
partial-assisted living with meals or full-assisted living with
private nursing care. Retired residents also have access to the
facility's doctor, who will make house calls.
"If there's anything that we don't have out here and we want
it, all you have to do is call the office up here and ...
they're going to get you what you need," said Margie Hill, who
lives in a private home next door to the Cielito development
where she and her husband are prepared to move if need be.
Nadine Ruskin, an 83-year-old Alzheimer's patient, lives in
San Miguel with her daughter. She doesn't have to go to a
facility because she receives 24-hour private nursing care at
home. It costs $1,000 a month, including weekly visits from a
But this retirement option needs to be approached with
caution. Assisted living is such a new concept in Mexico that
it is not yet regulated. For now, the standards of care are set
by the development owners. The newly formed Mexican Association
of Retirement Communities is working to set industry standards
that would be recognized in the United States.
But it's a growth industry. There are 10 assisted-living
facilities catering to Americans open or under construction in
Mexico and another 10 are being planned.
"Maybe we won't be like Miami or Tucson in five years, but
in 10 years, believe me," said Javier Godinez, director of the
Mexican Association of Retirement Communities. "More than 4
million people will come to live in Mexico."
Margie and Homer Hill love their life in Mexico. And they
know that if they need more help as they get older, all they
have to do is move next door.
Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures
Casa Preciosa Side Bar Notes:
Not too long ago, AARP produced an article about American retirement in San Miguel de
Allende, Mexico written by Barry Golson.
The 'retirement in Mexico'
AARP Magazine article also also talked
about American Ajijic
Casa Preciosa Ajijic Villa
Vacation Rental is located half a block from the
lakefront of Lake Chapala, Mexico.
The Dallas Morning News Article: Mexico Assisted Living