By Wendy Jane Carrel

The Opportunity

There are approximately 8.2 million older adults in Mexico (total population 130 million). By 2050 there will be an anticipated 30 million older adults, according to AARP International. An older adult in Mexico is 60 or older.

Mexico’s 32 states offer a variety of senior housing. Both social and medical models are found in the colonial highlands and along the coasts.

Mexico is slowly preparing for its own silver tsunami. (Yes, despite the tradition of elders residing with their children, life is changing in Mexico.)

By contrast, there are 48 million older adults (65+) in the U.S. representing 15% of the population. By 2050 the number is expected to be 88 million.

Common to the U.S. & Mexico

What Mexico and the U.S. have in common is that aging affects all citizens no matter their culture or heritage. And, not all older adults avoid health challenges, especially if they are living longer than their parents did.

One U.S. statistic indicates 7 out of 10 older adults may require long term care. Another indicates 52% of people turning age 65 will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetime.

It is wise to have a fallback plan in case of a medical emergency no matter where you choose to live, though this is more important in Mexico.

What do statistics indicate and what are some of the considerations?

There may exist an approximately $300 billion opportunity for the caregiving market in the U.S. in coming years.

Compared to the U.S., health and housing prices are currently one-third to one-half less in Mexico.

Who is the target market for Mexico? American (some Canadian) boomers and Gen-Xers.

Big Questions

The question is, will American boomers, for example, be able to afford senior housing in the U.S. in the coming years?

How will these “sandwich generation” boomers be able to retire, take care of their own needs as they age while looking after their own parents, and, provide for children and grandchildren?

What if rumors are true that there may be cuts in Social Security or Medicare as the U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt? Will these folks have a Plan B? Will they be thinking of Mexico?

Current and future senior housing and senior care models in Mexico are focused on welcoming a diverse population of boomers and Gen-Xers with parents, especially from the U.S.

The visions, wishes, and needs will vary from aging in place, active social models to more traditional all-inclusive or partially inclusive medical models.

There may be more work for healthcare providers in Mexico as the cost of private care keeps increasing in Canada, Europe, and the U.S.

Some Mexican-Americans are looking to Mexico as they age.

Existing Housing Models

Government

Run by DIF social services, this model accommodates abandoned and low-income seniors. Rooms and baths are most often shared. Sometimes there are low-income Americans as residents paying $500-$600 USD.

Charities/Non-Profits/Foundations

Often run by nurse nuns dedicated to senior care. Sliding scale payment. Mostly Mexican residents with an occasional ex-pat as a resident in different states of Mexico. Rooms are often but not always shared. $500-$800 USD, more or less.

Private Pay Assisted Living/”Nursing”

Every state of Mexico has residences, usually board and cares with six to 14 residents. Mexico City has corporate models such as the American Belmont Village. Please see link to February 2020 article about corporate models in Mexico, a relatively new phenomenon with American, Mexican, and Spanish investors.

According to INEGI (National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 2017), Mexico has over 800 “assisted living” residences. The numbers go up and down as not all homes have been sustainable, and for each one that is closed, another may open.

Monthly costs currently run from $1500 to $3500, not including extras. Prices vary from state to state.

Intentional Communities/Support Communities

Active adult compounds, co-housing/village/eco concepts, independent living with meals, cleaning, and laundry service for aging in place. See www.ic.org for some listings in Mexico. These communities attract Mexicans of various ages as well as a good number of Americans and Europeans. Some are buy-ins with ownership and monthly maintenance fees; others offer monthly rentals.

Life Plan Community/CCRC

There is only one Life Plan Community to date, La Pueblita at Lake Chapala, one hour south of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city. It will open in April 2021. It is intended to house 300 residents with 75% in independent living, 30 memory care suites and 32 assisted living suites. The owners are Mexican. Management is by Northstar Senior Living of California. American and Canadian residents are living on the premises already. Some Mexicans are planning to buy in. La Pueblita has plans to expand to four other ex-pat havens in Mexico.

Notes:

The above outline is based on 8 years of due diligence on housing and healthcare options in 16 states of Mexico. The focus is on places that American, Canadian, and European ex-pats retire to, such as Baja California, Cuernavaca, Lake Chapala, Mazatlan, Merida (Mayan Riviera), Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende/Queretaro.

There is no exact count of foreign nationals living in Mexico. The number varies as there are several “snowbirds” who choose Mexico from Thanksgiving through Easter. They leave and return almost every year. The estimate for Americans is around 1.5 million and that includes non-retirees who work in the country.

Other items to consider: labor pool availability and affordability, the most needed and requested services, construction/development costs and barriers, how ownership is structured, and more.

Resources:

https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need.html  

https://www.morningstar.com/articles/957487/must-know-statistics-about-long-term-care-2019-edition   

https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/what-lifetime-risk-needing-and-receiving-long-term-services-and-supports

https://www.inegi.org.mx/

https://www.aarpinternational.org/ 

Watch Steve Moran’s Foresight TV interview with Wendy Jane Carrel on January 24, 2021, HERE.

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