A member of my family has progressive dementia....
FWIW memory care tx. in the US is a pretty std rate of $6000 per month at in inpatient facility (private room).
Has anyone traveled abroad with family to place them in less expensive nursing home?
I was specifically looking at Mexico, but the info I'm finding is sketchy at best.
TIA for any info.
Mar 19, 12, 3:13 pm
Interesting issue. I Googled and found the following, just for general ideas:
If the person does not require skilled nursing assistance, then would it be possible to hire someone to "elder sit" with them in their home, in exchange for room and board and some hourly wage? I don't know, just asking. But one advantage would be that you could drop by from time to time to confirm that things are going well, whereas it might be more difficult in another country.
Mar 25, 12, 2:30 pm
'So he made what he saw as the only sensible decision: He outsourced his parents to India.'
Online I found a couple of places in Ensenada and PVR so far.
Jun 14, 12, 12:11 am
New Vocab for today: Casa de Ancianos – Spanish for House of the Old Ones
So off I flew to Mexico to investigate assisted / memory care facility alternatives. This is the story of what I found. Be advised that I have no commercial interest in any facility mentioned.
My requirements for a site visit were:
1. City must be easily reachable from the US.
2. Facility must be easily and quickly reached once at the local airport.
1st Stop – Puerto Vallarta.
I initially flew here to visit a friend… so this was a great jumping off place. While I did find many retirement type communities here, I could not locate any online URL references to assisted care / retirement homes online. Therefore, I went directly to a prominent geriatric psychiatrist in PVR for advise. I was told that there were a couple of places for local Mexicans – but the doc would not recommend any of them. ‘I would not place a family member there,’ I was told. I did hear of a place in Moscoso. However, Moscoso is roughly a 3-4 hour bus ride from PVR. Therefore, rule # 2 above applied, and I quickly moved on. I was also told that the Moscoso facility requires that a family member must visit the patient at least once per week… they do not want patient’s who wind up being abandoned by their family’s. Apparently this can be a problem in Mexico.
2nd Stop – Ajijiic – 45 minutes south of Guadalajara. Ajijiic has become a hotspot for American and Canadian retirerees. Infact, the place is inundated w foreigners. Take heed: the city is cobble stoned… “Oh my aching feet!” Like PVR, I found walking parts of the city very painful.
This place is actually a series of 5 or so homes with people in various stage of Alzheimers or recovering from stokes, etc. I visited 3 of the homes. The first one I visited – the one with the tapestry (see 2nd link above) - has a rich, ‘artsy-fartsy’ bed and breakfast feel to it. For the most part, I liked this place… it’s very homey. I spent a great deal of time talking to the resident patients. Without exception, all were very happy there… and almost all mentioned how great the food was… especially the fresh vergetables that were prepared daily. I also liked Alicia… a lot. While it was clear that this is a business for her… it was also clear that she cared for her residents. Alicia is the Mexican equivalent of an RN… and either she or staff can administer meds/IV when needed.
NOTE: There is one house called ‘the blue house or the blue and white house’ which I DID NOT like. The outside is quite nice and has a pool. But I found the inside to be very dark (it’s got a woodsy beam ceiling) and so the bedrooms felt kind of depressing to me. I would not want to live there.
Some of Alicia’s the most advanced stage ALZ. pt’s are guests here.
In short, I felt that Alicia’s residents get good, compassionate care. The one-on-one direct staff to patient ratio appears very good.
PRICE: $1,500 per month
2. Casa Nostra Nursing Home
Like Alicia’s this is a converted private residence. Cameras record activities throughout the house. I noticed that there many patients on IV’s and who appeared to be in very advance stages of Alz. Ds. I felt slightly uncomfortable here… but I really cant say why. Nothing that I could put my finger on... I just didn’t feel a “warm and fuzzy.” I liked Alicia’s better. The house has an elevator. The price includes weekly doctor’s visits.
No one answered the door bell here… so I have nothing to report. Looks good on the outside. The place is on the Malecon facing the lake. See link 2 above for more info. It appears to be more of an independent living facility – rather than assisted living.
From Ajijiic I proceeded to GDL and then on to Tijuana. It took 36 hours by bus from GDL… at least it was a TAP Primera Plus bus with the big recliners, movies, and internet!
Closest assisted care facility to the border. Located in the Mirador section of TJ. The house sits high on a hill with a fantastic view. Was greeted by a guy in the first room on the left by, ‘Domo arigato gozimashta!’ ‘Domo arigato gozimashta!’ Doctor was there making rounds. Apparently he is there everyday til noon. This place does a brisk business. They are opening a new home which has been updated with handicapped access. The new house is quite nice compared to the original.
PRICE: 1,700.00… including in house doctor. (Got the opinion price may vary depending on nego skills).
‘Domo arigato gozimashta!’ said the man in the first room as I left the building.
Best thing about the place is that the owner is American, and responds quickly to emails. He even follows up with telephone calls. However, other staff really does not speak English. This maybe an issue for some patients. Website looks much better than actual facility. Facility appears run down.
Owner’s son is an American trained LPN. The family is opening a new home on the estuary – right on the beach. It will be called Casa Pacifica. The view is fantastic. This might be a place for some to consider… the son will be monitoring health care administered at the beach house. Im leary of the bathrooms consisting of tile showers. A fall here could be catastrophic for the patient. I really, really like the family that runs this place. I think they have the best of intentions…
Originally this was an RV Park w a small hotel… 6 rooms or so were downstairs… the owner’s lived upstairs… and rented out the rooms. Rooms remind me of a Route 66 motel… There are a couple of trailers still in the garden. Garden is immaculate. Each room has to be accessed from the outside… so it might not be the place for everyone. Staff is very friendly. I spoke with 1 resident who was very, very happy there. Upstairs part of home is depressing.
Price: $1,700 USD.
The Jardin also has a facility in downtown Rosarito. Again this is a doctors office which has been converted into a retirement home. Pt. here appear in the final stages of Alz. I found their conditions very sad and depressing. Staff will float between facilities.
Price: $900 USD. This was the least expensive site that I visited.
You know you are in trouble when the first thing you hear is, ‘Let me connect you with a sales rep.‘
In this case, the sale rep was a Brit and it’s always nice to met up with someone who actually speaks your language at the native level when dealing with something as serious as health care in a foreign country. One of the first things I liked about Harmony House was the loud English laughter coming from inside when the large metal door was opened and I entered the House. (Often times one will enter a memory care facility and see patients sitting in a semi circle staring into space - or being subjected to a Plasma screne TV). Here people actually seemed to be having fun and enjoying themselves. Pt. stimulation was good. Originally built by an artist, the artwork inside is kinda cool. Actually, it’s real cool. Almost all the residents are foreigners. The next thing that impressed me was the in house medical clinic… and the R.N. who is in charge of the health care. She’s very knowledgeable and runs a tight ship from the nursing station. The clinic is fully equipped… including crash cart and AED, etc.
This facility is much better equipped than any other facility mentioned so far. They are equipped to to provide skilled nursing care if needed. The doctor sees every pt at least once per month… more often if required. The staff is very friendly and hard working. There is an herb garden in the backyard, and a miniature golf course. Staff to pt. ratio is 1 to 4. Bedrooms are comfortable and are set up in a rectangle around a central meditation court yard.
Two new wings are being added and will come online soon. The main facility only takes 12 pts or so. Each new wing will add space for 4 additional patients. Due to the small number of patients, the care is quite personalized.
Of course, a local hospital is used if a specialized treatment is required (Bononovo Hospital). However, transportation to the border can be arranged via Mexican ambulance should advanced care in the US become necessary. American paramedics would meet the Mexican ambulance at the border and continue the trip to a US Health Care Facility. The process of crossing the border is expedited in these cases.
Drawbacks: They nickel and dime you. A fee for this… a fee for that. There is a 'set up fee,' a deposit fee, a fee for an initial medical exam, an ongoing ‘medical bank’ fee - from which Rx's fees, and fees for transporting a pt. to the hospital, etc. are subtracted. Mexican FM-3 VISA and attorney fees have to be taken into account, too - as do the cost of re-positioning a pt. to Mexico. At this point, I am unclear of the savings that can be reaped by using this facility. Hopefully those will become clearer soon.
Price: Your price may vary. Roughly $ 2350 - 2550 ish +++ USD.
Regardless of the facility chosen, many pts end end their Alzheimer journey in Mexico.
Final cremation expenses can be as low as $645.
Jun 14, 12, 9:02 am
Thanks for the 'trip report'!
Jun 14, 12, 7:47 pm
Jun 16, 12, 8:21 am
Tlv4free, thanks for posting your findings in such detail! One of the purposes of posting is to help others, and you have certainly done it! Great job! ^
Admittedly, most of us aren't going to have a need for this subject in the near future--I hope not, anyway--but this is the sort of thing that many people, as they face the aging of parents or others will find invaluable someday, even if it is just as background material, as familiarization with a topic. The subject is difficult to research, as I found out in trying to post on it above, and the subject matter is painful, but many people do have to face it at some point in their lives. I don't think I would want another country for a loved one, but I can see that the price here could be staggering, and people would have different comfort levels in their choices, especially if they are able to visit frequently.
(I wish we could have helped you, but it seems you ended up potentially helping some of future readers of this thread. ;) )
Jul 16, 12, 6:34 pm
Thank you for the thorough evaluation of the facilities that you found. We have many friends that live in Mexico and several are planning to live out the rest of their lives there. It is good to know such facilities exist and that the level of care is good.