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Caring For Aging Loved Ones in Yucatan

The following is a story that was sent to us by a gentleman, Mario Arredondo, who has gone through a process we may all someday have to endure: searching for and finding a nursing home for a loved one. While this process is probably never devoid of pain and sorrow, in Mario’s case, the difficult situation was compounded by the virtual loss of his best friend and wife, Inger, to dementia.

Nursing homes, according to our Yucatecan friends, are a new development here in Merida. In earlier times, families cared for their abuelitos (grandparents) at home. In the last twenty or thirty years, retirement homes of all types and sizes have been springing up in the city as people are living in smaller family units and getting

too busy to stay home with their elders who need full time care. Retirement homes are called everything from Asilo de Ancianos (Old Age Asylums) to Casas de Descanso (Rest homes), Casas para Los Abuelitos (Grandparent Homes), Casas de la Tercer Edad (House of the Third Age) and Casas para Adultos Mayores (House for Older Adults).

According to our email correspondence with Mario, Inger was the love of his life, who he met in Paris some fifty years ago. She spoke English, Spanish, German and French fluently, and of course, Danish which was her first language. In their younger days, they had both been successful business executives, first in Denmark and then in Cuba, where Mario was the CEO of a regional office of a major Danish corporation. In Cuba, Inger served in the Danish consular office, and eventually she became the Norwegian consul to Cuba. They retired to Merida in 1998, looking forward to spending time together in their lovely home here, enjoying the tropical climate and their free time. In 2008, they both turned 72 years old.

We invite you to read Mario’s story. Whether you are 32 or 52 or 72 years old, chances are you will be touched in some way by the aging of either yourself or a loved one. Dealing with the aging process in Mexico will pose different challenges than it might in your homeland, but it may also present unexpected opportunities. For instance, there are probably no elder care facilities in Merida today with English-speaking staff. On the other hand, good to excellent care can be obtained for a fraction of the price of a similar service in the States. We suspect, in the end, this is an industry in the Yucatan, like real estate and tourism, that will experience serious and wide-ranging effects from the presence and participation of expatriates. Inger in Merida in better times - pre Hurricane Isidore

At the end of the story, we will tell you about some local expats who are taking the situation into their own hands, and inviting you to participate. But first, here is the story of Mario and Inger, in Mario’s own words:

My wife Inger and I are Danes who have chosen to retire to Merida, capital of the state of Yucatan. Sometime after moving here, in early 2003, Inger started to show disturbing changes in her personality. A good memory had never been among Inger’s many intellectual resources, but her poor memory went quickly from bad to worse, and her short-term recollection of events of the day or hours before started to disappear. My wife ascribed it to the trauma of having lived through Hurricane Isidore, with the devastation it brought to our city and the extensive damage to our home in September 2002. She thought her symptoms would gradually disappear. But I was so disturbed by her gradual deterioration that I began to ask other friends about their experiences.

My neighbors, the Perez family, were kind enough to share their own similar experience with me. The matriarch of their family had displayed similar symptoms to Inger’s and had been diagnosed with a cerebrovascular disorder, a type of dementia that mimicked Alzheimer’s disease. The woman’s brain was dying and the doctor feared a vegetative life for her. Learning about the Perez family’s tragic experience was of invaluable help to me in getting an early diagnosis and timely treatment for my dear wife. The son gave me the name of the neurologist who had diagnosed his mother and recommended that I seek his immediate advice, which I did as soon as I could get an appointment.Inger and Mario in Uruguay in 2006

Following a series of brain scans, the neurologist diagnosed my wife as suffering from the same condition as that of Mrs. Perez. I was devastated. It was a cataclysmic blow to our expectations of enjoying our “golden years” of retirement. We had anticipated blissfully pursuing recreational activities together as actively as we had enjoyed our professional lives.

During a private conversation, the neurologist comforted me with the fact that my wife’s condition was in its early stages.
In the scan, he saw a few bright spots, indicating brain strokes, against the background of an otherwise normal brain. He told me that the advance of the condition could be considerably arrested by pharmacological means. When asked about the long-term prognosis, the neurologist informed me that, as opposed to Inger and Mario in Rio de Janeiro in 2006Alzheimer’s disease, where patients could live for up to twenty or more years after the onset of the condition, patients with the cerebrovascular condition he had diagnosed in my wife had a life expectancy of only five to ten years from the onset of the disease. A massive brain stroke would be the likely cause of death.

I left the clinic in a haze of conflicting emotions and carrying an arsenal of medications. The key prescription was a blood thinning preparation that would arrest the frequency and severity of the brain strokes, a medication that Inger needed to take for the rest of her life.

The bad news presented me with a painful dilemma. For the first time in our marriage, I had to hide from my wife hard facts of life that were affecting us both. We had faced all of life’s prior upheavals together, with shared background knowledge and a determination to find mutually satisfactory solutions. For the first time in our lives together, we could not do this any more. This would be the first big secret I had to keep from my wife since we had met in Paris fifty years earlier.

I lied to Inger, telling her that her situation was not so bad and that she had many years left of a fulfilling and happy life. The most I could disclose to her was that she might have to adapt to certain limitations because of failings of her memory and abilities, but she could be sure that I would always be at her side to compensate for Inger on her last sailing trip, when Mario decided further trips would be too dangerousher possible minor shortcomings.

Compounding the situation that I was now facing alone was the fact that a recent routine medical examination had disclosed that I had serious reasons for concern regarding my own health. During my yearly cardiology check-up, the doctor had heard an abnormal sound mixed in with the usual heartbeats. An echocardiogram disclosed a faulty aortic valve, which was causing my heart to pump frantically to maintain a steady blood flow. As in the case of Inger, the condition was in an early stage, and did not require immediate surgery. I was warned, however, that it could easily advance to a stage that would require aortic valve replacement surgery to avert death. I was given a prescription for a hypertension drug and a recommendation that I adopt a healthier life style. No smoking, no drinking, no worrying.

Inger and I were facing the worst possible health scenario. Both of us were afflicted by serious health conditions, far away from the safety net of Denmark’s socialized medicine. More importantly, we were far from a social environment of relatives and close friends who could take care of us in an emergency. After reviewing the gloomy alternatives, I decided the most important thing was spending whatever time Inger and I had left living life intensely. We would travel together to exciting places and thoroughly enjoy all the things we had valued in our lives.

Four years have elapsed since the initial diagnoses of our respective ailments. My condition has remained stable. Not so Inger’s. Three successive brain scans disclosed that further brain strokes were occurring, accompanied by further deterioration of her cognitive faculties, speech, and general ability to perform the most elementary chores.

As long as Inger kept her eminently rational mind, optimistically reasoning that she had forgotten this or that, I willingly settled into a routine of running every aspect of our household, and helping Inger even with her own personal grooming. When that advanced to also having to take care of her personal hygiene, the pressure on me became unbearable. I found it difficult to tolerate the embarrassment of intruding into her intimacy.

The worst was to come around October 2007, when Inger started losing her ability to think rationally. She was falling in and out of lucidity, her usual placid mood marred by compulsive behaviour such as collecting her clothes to protect them against imaginary intruders. When her night sleep became extremely agitated and noisy, I had no choice but to settle into one of our guest rooms. Soon I discovered that that wasn’t a solution, as she couldn’t be left alone.
On one occasion, at midnight I heard a rumbling noise coming from our kitchen. I hurried to check and found Inger trying to brew a cup of tea. She had opened all the gas taps. They must have been open for quite a while, since the kitchen and a good deal of the house smelled strongly of LP-gas. I hurried to close the taps and open all the doors and windows. By sheer luck, Inger had not tried to ignite the burners. I changed the lock on Inger’s bedroom so that it could be locked from outside and made a routine of regularly closing the main gas supply valve.

At the end February 2008, we received a long-expected visit from a couple of European friends. I was very concerned about the way Inger would handle that visit. Luckily, she was in a lucid period and acted as a most gracious hostess, except for a few incoherencies, which may or may not have passed unnoticed by our guests.
Later in March, and then in April, both our daughter Lisbeth and my sister Virginia visited us.During their visits, Inger was at her worst, and Lisbeth and Virginia were deeply shocked at what they saw and experienced. They were the first to raise the possibility of my placing Inger in a nursing facility, as they knew of my health condition and they could see the stress the situation was placing upon me.

After their visits, I went to my doctor for my periodic heart check-up. My electrocardiogram showed some irregularities and the cardiologist questioned me about my lifestyle. As the good friend he had become over the years, he was horrified to hear that I was caring for a senile spouse. He too endorsed the idea of a nursing facility. He reminded me that I was Inger’s caretaker and guarantor of her upkeep. As such, I had the duty to preserve my life, both for my sake and hers. Inger in her first nursing home with a visiting friend

Still unwilling to give up, I took Inger to a psychiatrist in the hope that therapy and medication could sedate her to a manageable state. The psychiatrist prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressive agents, which he hoped would regulate her worst delusions and mood swings. But he could not guarantee that even under sedation Inger would not again act erratically, endangering herself and her surroundings. In the doctor’s professional opinion, placing her under the constant supervision and the protective surroundings of a nursing home was the correct solution.

Finally, I started looking around for a nursing home for Inger. Some of the recommended homes were run by Catholic nuns. They only accepted physically disabled elderly women, preferably of Catholic background and observance. Inger was disqualified on both counts. I resorted to the telephone directory and found several nursing homes, mostly located in downtown Mérida. I checked them all and was horrified by what I saw: run-down premises overcrowded with patients who looked unkempt and uncontrolled. Their insanity was unchecked and overwhelming. They places looked and smelled more like storage rooms of human refuse than nursing clinics.

My next stop was a fairly large, colonial-style house that I used to pass by on my way from shopping at Costco. It was in the Campestre neighbourhood, right across Paseo de Montejo from our own home. They had a large sign advertising their care of elderly people. It turned out that they were experienced in caring for dementia patients. Their premises were clean and pleasant, although a bit overcrowded, and the staff was very kind and apparently highly qualified. Their rates did not include medicines and other ancillary supplies, such as diapers, which were to be supplied as needed by patients’ relatives.

They had no vacancies at that facility, but had just opened another home at Montes de Amé, a neighborhood in North Merida, where they were accepting patients. I immediately made an appointment to check the facility. I knew the home was similar to the first one, a nice villa with a large garden and a pool, in a very quiet neighborhood. They had several vacancies, including a spacious room they could book for Inger upon my signing a contract and making a down payment. I immediately made arrangements to have Inger start as an outpatient at the beginning of May. Under this arrangement, I would deliver Inger in the morning and pick her up in late afternoon. The idea was to get Inger adapted to her completely new circumstances. After two weeks under this arrangement, I decided it was time for her to become a resident.

Two nurses staffed the home, taking care of only three patients, including Inger. They were caring and competent. My only misgiving was the complete lack of activities for the patients. They were fed, groomed and on the whole pampered, but there was nothing for them to do, except to walk from their rooms to the dining room or the sitting room, where they spend most of the day watching Mexican TV programs. I found out that Inger chose to spend her time confined in her room, scanning Danish ladies’ magazines, which she could no longer properly read. When she left her room, she spent hours in the corridor staring blankly at a poorly kept garden. The patients couldn’t go in the outside area because the personnel feared they would fall into the empty, unprotected swimming pool.

At the beginning of Inger’s second month there, three more patients joined the existing residents, but there was no change in the staffing level. Naturally, all the patients received less attention than previously. I was growing uncomfortable with the arrangement and when the management decided to significantly raise the rates, I decided it was time to move Inger.

Inger with a friend in her new home where she currently resides in late 2008Fortunately, there was another establishment nearby advertising nursing services. I paid them a visit and was impressed by the dedication and professionalism of their staff. The facility was associated with a non-profit organization, called a Patronato. They had no single individual rooms, as their policy was that rooms ought to be shared, for the mutual support and friendship opportunities it offered the women. I had my misgivings, but I decided to let Inger give it a try.
I made arrangements for Inger to move into the Patronato establishment at the beginning of August. She has now been there for nearly two months, and everything seems to be working to everyone’s satisfaction. The new home offers a number of activities supervised by the nurses who are on staff, including physical exercise, physiotherapy, and most important to Inger, swimming, which she loves and at which she is rather proficient. Inger seems so far to be quite satisfiedInger near her beloved pool with her new circumstances. Visitors are allowed between 11 AM and 6 PM, and of course, I visit her often. And I am, of course, always closely monitoring her circumstances to make sure the present home is the right place for her to spend her coming years in Mérida.

Reflecting upon our ordeal, I reflect on how lucky we were, through timely treatment of my wife, to get a four-year respite from an unavoidable outcome. Those years gave us a temporary lease on the lives we had dreamed would last until old age. We do not look upon our fate with bitterness. Instead, we are grateful for the four years of happiness we gained as a result of early diagnosis. We look at these precious years as a reward for the devoted concern over one another’s well being, arising from the ineffable miracle of love.
If a lesson is to be drawn from our example, it is for elderly spouses and other relatives of elderly people to be alert to personality changes in their loved ones that may warn of treatable conditions.

I have omitted the names of the various people and establishments referred to in my story, to avoid unwanted endorsements, or criticism that may be deemed to be unfair. In my experience, residence rates of local nursing homes range from $4,000 to $12,000 pesos a month, and are not necessarily related to the quality of the accommodation and of the services. In Inger’s present and previous homes, there was always someone who spoke a little English and could understand most of Inger’s mixture of Danish/Spanish/English.  As far as I am concerned, I always conduct business with them in Spanish, which is my native language. I have never met other expatriates in any of the homes that I visited or in which Ingrid lived.

Contact Mario

Interested parties are invited to contact Mario Arredondo for further details about doctors, nursing facilities or other related issues at his email address: ibamar [at] prodigy [dot] net [dot] mx.

Community Organizing

It has not gone unnoticed to our Merida expat community that there are not a lot of good choices in Merida for retirement facilities, and what is here caters, naturally, to the Yucatecan or Mexican population. There may be less than 10,000 expats in the Yucatan area at the moment, but those numbers are predicted to rise precipitously over the next few years. And while people of all ages are moving here, it is the Baby Boomers who make up the majority. We are all getting older, and those of us who want to continue to live in this lovely warm climate and culture will at some point need and want the services of various types of retirement communities and services.

Not content to leave decisions to someone else about what kind of communities will be available, a group of local expats has begun to survey the Merida expat population about their needs and wants. If you would like to be a part of this survey, please contact Martha Lindley at martha [dot] lindley [at] gmail [dot] com or Lorna Gail Dallin at lg5050 [at] hotmail [dot] com. After sufficient questionnaires have been gathered, the group will hold meetings for further discussion. If this is a subject that interests you in any way, whether it is for yourself, a loved one or for investment purposes, we encourage you to contact them. And as always, we encourage your comments.

Preventative Measures

The Medi-Alert System is now available in Merida through StarNet Computer Service, located in the City Center Mall next to the Super WalMart. This is the service that puts a communication device in your home which allows you to notify a central service if you need help. For more information, you can contact Jose Antonio (also known as Pepe), who speaks English, by phone at 999-913-8539. (His wife, Maria, who lived in the United States for 20 years, runs a jewelry shop next door). Tell him Yucatan Living sent you!


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29 Responses to “Caring For Aging Loved Ones in Yucatan”

  1. Great article, thanks for sharing your story Mario may God keep you and Ingrid safe.

  2. I and my husband are now a “tercera edad” members looking forward to the Yucatan where, for several years, we have been planning to move as soon as our children are on their own which it should be early in 2009. Mr Mario Arredondo’s narrative is quite an “eye opener”. Here in southern California, related to my profession, I frequently visit a variety of “Retirement Communities and Nursing Homes” There are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of elderly folks being “warehoused” in extremely “love-less” conditions paying from about three thousand to over seven thousand dollars per month. Every one is hoping this new president will do “something for the forgotten old folks” who, in the majority can not afford their “golden years” as they hoped. Yucatan should be in the eye sight of Mexico’s newly created AMAR (Associacion Mexicana para la asistencia en el retiro).

  3. An addendum from Mario…

    My long-term aim by publishing that article is that we, expatriates in Yucatán from the so-called “first world”, could pooling ressources together, rent a roomy residence, hire two or three nurses, a janitor, a general practitioner as “consultant” (there is no such a medical speciality as “gerontologist” in Yucatán) and then run the place on the basis of expense sharing. I believe that in case of 8 to 10 patients, paying each as little as 10 to 12.000 pesos monthly we could offer our loved ones “first world-style” care and comforts, with the additional touch of human warmth Mexicans can provide. Naturally, as things go in Mexico, somewhere along the line a legal consultant would have to be called in..

    Please do not hesite to contact me if you have further questions or ideas.

  4. Mario — and others, perhaps — will be happy to hear that there are indeed medical doctors certified in geriatrics in Yucatan. I can recommend Dr. Francisco Silva Campechano, certified in Geriatrics and internal Medicine from UNAM, who currently has a practice at Star Medica. Dr. Silva, who speaks only Spanish, offered compassionate, wholistic care to my mother during her last illness. He also just finished coordinating a short course in geriatrics at a local University, for other medical professionals.
    His office telephone is 196-14-39. Again, Dr. Silva does not speak English, but understands and can communicate with those who do not speak fluent Spanish.

  5. What a jaw-droppingly, incredible story, Mario. I am continually amazed by the spirit and outright bravery present in my fellow man; the decisions that you were forced to make, in a foreign country, are extremely difficult, and I can’t commend you enough.

    My only question after reading your story (and please forgive me if this is too personal a question) was the misgivings you may have experienced about placing Inger in a facility that was almost entirely Spanish-speaking. Do you have concerns about how the staff there, strangers to her, speaking entirely Spanish, are affecting her overall levels of confusion about her current situation? How on Earth do you handle this? How is the whole situation presented to her? Do you worry about that?

    Again, I stand in deep, deep admiration of your strength, your decisions, and the choices you have been forced to make for the woman that you very clearly love so dearly. I wish you nothing but the best, as you continue this journey.

  6. Thank you Mario! I used to swim with Inger at the Hyatt many years ago. I also once lived in Denmark, so it was a chance to practice my almost forgotten Danish. I really enjoyed knowing her and missed her when she stopped swimming at the Hyatt. Then Monika brought her to the IWC and we had a chance to chat again.

    I am concerned about my own future in Merida as I am divorced, diabled and live alone. I know the time will come when I will have to make a change in my living arrangements somewhere down the road. I hope soon that some assisted living facilities are available in Merida. I am interested in any group forming to talk about this subject as we all are aging in our beloved Merida.

  7. Inger is a very lucky woman. Mario is truly a jewel and I am very happy they had those four years together before her condition deteriorated so greatly.

    We have Alzheimer’s in my family, as in two maternal uncles. Watching them deteriorate and the strain it produced, financially, physically, and emotionally upon their caregivers was and is difficult. My mother is afraid that she will develop it.

    With the growing number of expats in Merida from English-speaking countries, perhaps some medical entrepreneurs will open a good, caring home for those who find themselves in similar circumstances.

  8. [...] Hunucma: Asilo de Ancianos Bajo la Mirada del Señor (Nursing Home) This past week, the employees of Bodega Aurrerá gave a breakfast for the residents of the nursing home in Hunucma (map) Everyone had a wonderful time, but we wanted to know more about the nursing home, since this is the first time we have heard anything about it. We found that this particular nursing home is completely supported by the Parish of San Francisco de Asis Church. We also learned that, although the physical needs of the residents at the nursing home are well taken care of, many of them are alone and need someone to talk to. Why not go by and see if there is something you can do to help? For more on this subject, you might want to see our recent article on retirement home choices in Merida. [...]

  9. Just a note to say that although I asked to be sent a copy of the survey being conducted, I haven’t received anything. Does anyone know what is happening with this project?

  10. 1-1-2009- Happy 2009! I posted the reply below in another part of this site, but after reading your article, I thought it appropriate to put it here as well. I am 60 and just survived a kidney cancer removal, and I face a prostate cancer removal later this month. I know the Mexican health insurance system like the back of my hand. (I had an FM-2 and was well on my to changing my citizenship if I had wanted to). It is good that you are being proactive in setting up support for those who cannot help themselves. Inasmuch as my father died from Alzheimers, I know well how hard it is on the family and friends who provide the care.

    I hope to be able to visit you down there, perhaps soon….in the meantime, I post this again:

    I tripped over this site, and it is a treat. After returning to Arizona after a three year stint as an English professor at a university in Sonora (2005-Dec2007), I have a big hole in my heart for my old students and for my home I built on the ejido there, which now sits vacant. In 1971, I had to disembark from a friend’s schooner at Isla Mujeres with a spine injury; we were headed to Belize. But I was glad, because I wound up in Merida, testing every pain killer at the local hospital and meeting the beautiful people there, until I had to fly back to DC, where I lived at the time. I’ll never forget it.

    I think you have delineated almost everything correctly. You could use an older person’s perspective on the health concerns we faced. In Sonora, I was denied the ISSTESON state health insurance as a teacher because I had high blood pressure. During the time I was there, the country transited from Fox to Calderon, and Calderon put most publicly funded health programs in an economic stranglehold. Along with a few Mexican nationals as well, I was a victim of that. And when I returned last year (exactly a year ago), I didn’t know that I had most likely already contracted two types of cancer. It was only in September that I found this out, and I now face a second operation for my prostate removal (the kidney was removed in October). As bad as the overall health situation is here in the US, at least I now have a good policy through my employer. I would have died had I stayed in Mexico, but my body was telling me that I had to return to the land of E Pluribus Unum if only for the sake of my health.

    I know of many friends and their families who suffer relatives lost to this lousy Mexican health care system. It is almost a basket case, but I know there are many local, dedicated health physicians who do their best to treat people at whatever they can afford. But for major health problems, the support system is just not there. Mexico has a long way to go, but I love it anyway.

    I haven’t had the chance to go through your site, but I know I will enjoy it. I have many hundreds of friends and students from the land we call our Distant Neighbor, from doctors, politicians, to priests and ejiditarios and even a few local drunks. My wife and I were the only gringos within 80 miles, and I just love it. As soon as I can, I will return.

    If you would like to see where I worked, go to:

    Some day, hopefully not too distant, I will make a trip down to your paradise.

  11. I deeply admire Mario and have the honor of being his friend. I only hope that I can be as proactive, analytical, and lovingly attentive as he continues to be, should it become necessary. I support his idea of a cooperative nursing home. I think it’s a great idea. If anyone wants to start a discussion off-line about this, I would be interested.

  12. Hello,

    I find your subject for conversation very interesting because they touch me personally. I also think that in the future the need for Healthcare will be more and more in request.
    I am a Canadian who seeks to settle in Mérida in Mexico with friends and of the family. Firstly, I want to rent for the next winter a house in the center of Mérida, up to that point does not have there a problem. If you know somebody who has a house to rent you can announce it to me.

    Where that becomes complicated, it is that I am a man handicapped following an accident (quadriplegic) which needs assistance the morning to the rising and the evening for its personal care. Therefore, I am in the search of Healthcare. Otherwise, I am an autonomous person in wheel chair which has full with projects to realize.

    Therefore, I am in the search of an employment agency (Healthcare) which could help me to find the personnel necessary that I could engage to work for me.

    With regard to your idea of co-operatives, I am very interested to imply me in this project. I am very implied in my medium and I know many people in armchair which would be interested to travel in Mérida and to even settle if there were such a service.

    I excuse myself for the mechanical translation I am Canadian French-speaking person and I do not control English very well.


  13. Dear Sir:
    It helped me a lot to read your story. I am in Campeche; I have been here for 3 months. It is beautiful but I am thinking in moving to Merida or Puert Progreso. Thank you very much.
    With Repect and Love.
    Lourdes Bednarczyk
    My cell:
    045 981 821 3620

  14. I am a registered nurse in Canada. I would love to work in Merida. I have been to Mexico countless times and love the people. My work is with the elderly in retirement homes. Who do I contact? Working together we can make progress. Time to start building some beautiful homes.

  15. Is it possible to hire a live in caretaker for an elderly woman? We are ready to move to Merida and would like to have my 94 year old mother live with us. She is in an assisted living facility now in the US, and we would like to have some help with her required care (bathing, helping with getting dressed, etc).

  16. This sort of employee is MUCH easier to find and afford here in Merida than anywhere we’ve ever lived in the States. You should have no trouble finding someone to do that.
    We recommend talking to someone like Yucatan Expatriate Services to find out the best place to look for a good person.

  17. Thank you so much for the information. We are starting the process with YES to set up a corporation and this subject was on the list to ask them. It is costing about $5000 a month for care in the US for her. We were hoping this would be an viable alternative to both save money and allow us more quality time with her.

    I would also like to take a moment to thank you for Yucatan Living. I fell in love with Merida (and the Yucatan) 20 years ago and knew then that it would be the place I would retire to. Yucatan Living has been an invaluable source of “The devil is in the details” information. We can usually figure out the big stuff but articles such as the one on phone calls in Mexico saved us on our last trip to Merida. Kudos!!!

  18. Hi, I wonder if anyone knows how to go about finding a daytime ‘carer’ for a semi-invalid (stroke) male who can walk, feed and almost dress self? And if this is possible, what sort of fee would be involved? A male is much preferable.

  19. We suggest that you engage the services of Yucatan Expatriate Services for this endeavor. They can help you navigate the search and interview process in the most successful and efficient way possible. You can go to their website ( or email them at info [at] yucatanyes [dot] com.

  20. Greetings

    After working 17 years in the medical field as a nurse my wife and I are in the planning stages of opening a “complex care” home in Nanaimo BC, Canada.

    However, we both lived for almost 3 years in Puerto Vallarta and our heart still resides there.

    If we could figure out how much interest there is in a similar service in the Merida or Progreso area we would strongly consider relocating our plans South once again.

    We would build a home suitable for between 4 to 8 residents to start with until we can train suitable staff to offer a high level of quality care.

    If anyone can share what they themselves might need or perhaps someone they know I would appreciate it greatly.

    Please contact us at robint777 [at] hotmail [dot] com

    Best Regards

    Robin and Christine Beasse

  21. Anyone who would like to get involved in helping to develop accessible medical and quality of life services to support extranjeros who intend to age in place here in the Yucatan should know that there is a group working on this.

    If you would like to find out more on how you can get involved, or if you have information/experience on other aging-related services, please contact Holly Smith at gratefulholly [at] gmail [dot] com.

  22. Hi Mario. Your story touched me deeply, because my mom has Alhzeimer’s Disease. I’m from Merida but I live in the United States now. I have tried to get in touch with you but your e-mail address is wrong. I need to see this place you talk about, El Patronato. Where is it located?? my e-mail is hoganhouse9 [at] charter [dot] net. Thank you!

  23. Hi,

    I am an RN with 40 plus years of experience, a great deal of it in elder care. I am coming to Progreso in April and would love to meet up with someone in the industry to chat with over drinks sometime while I am there. I am looking at Progreso as a possible retirement location and I am coming for a fact finding trip, that will, of course, allow beach and shopping time. And of course, margarita time at sunset.

    Please feel free to contact me, I would love to have the opportunity to meet and chat with folks who came before me. Thanks, Brenda

  24. Hi
    I am a nurse with 20 years of experience , especially in nursing homes in Switzerland, where I am working for the moment. I live permanently in Merida and I am thinking about offering home nursing services to the expats in Merida , Progreso etc. Untill now it’s an idea but since I read all the responses, I think that there is a need for this. My ideas are to visit elder expats in their home, plan the nursing, give and find the help they need, go with them to doctors. Perhaps somebody has some good ideas how I could start this? I will be back in Merida from 5 July 2011. I am 43 years old ; speak dutch , german, englisch and spanish. I would be happy about some reactions pleace contact me ygosselink [at] hotmail [dot] com

  25. My name is Dr. Luis Martinez, I’m a psychotherapist living in Merida Yucatan and owner of the home mentioned by Mario on the Yucatan living page, my wife is a pharma psychiatry specialist and we are dedicated to caring for patients who are living with Alzheimer disease as well as others. We are now accepting outpatient as well as permanent residency. The home is actually called La Edad Dorada or The Golden Age and part of it is photographed on the page where you see Inger by a fenced pool and the one above. We are located in North Merida at: Calle 30 #255 por 75 y 73 colonia Montes de Ame. Our phone numbers are as follows: Office… 2874073 Cel… 9991608860 Thanks. Email is: drluismartinez [at] live [dot] com [dot] mx

  26. Very informative and appreciated all of your input. We are in the process of deciding where we want to live the balance of our years. Hospitals, doctors and care will be a major factor. Also how important it will be to know Spanish.

    Thank you

  27. Really important topic — Thanks Mario.

  28. Was very surprised to read my note sent from california november 25th 2008. Moved to Merida in january 2009 when I was 79 years old. Could not walk more than a few feet and my health was rapidly deteriorating. Soon I will be 85 years old and feel as healthy as when I was half my age. Do not take any “pills” as I was prescribed and induced to regularly take by my Southern California assigned Kaiser Permanente health plan doctor. Now I regularly walk five + miles at least 3 times weekly. I do not eat any processed foods…and try to greatly enjoy a delicious orgasm at least once per week. I can remember many many things as far back as when I was 3 years old…No! No! and a thousand times No! No one has to suffer lost of memory…No one !!! if in a desire to exchange ideas and opinions please send it through my e-mail…con mucho amor, from beautiful Yucatan !!!

  29. After reading this article I tried to contact Mario and found the email provided is not valid. If someone could please give me more details regarding the available homes in Merida and any contact info you may have.

    I have a friend who will be moving to Merida with her aged mother and will need a facility to care for her.

    Thank You,
    T. Tessier


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