The LCS Post Life/Emergency Registry
By The Lake Chapala Society Post-Life Committee
The LCS Post Life Emergency Registry is over 25 years old and is one of more than 100 monthly services, continuing education programs and activities that benefit members and the entire Lakeside community. Imagine this: Your neighbor, Helen, has been ill. She lives alone so you’ve been looking in on her once in a while. One morning, you knock on her front door. No answer. You open the door and walk through her living room and kitchen, calling her name. No sign of Helen. You peek into her bedroom and see Helen lying lifeless on her bed. Helen has passed away during the night.
What do you do? Who do you call?
Procedures for death and dying are different in Mexico. Unless foul play is suspected, do not call the police or ambulance. You are advised to first call the deceased’s physician and then their funeral home as well as next of kin. But you don’t have any of the names or contact information.
Fortunately, you recall that Helen told you she is registered with The Lake Chapala Society Post Life/Emergency Registry. LCS provides this registry service to members, non-members and the entire Lakeside community. It serves as the only central emergency resource lakeside, available for Cruz Roja, consulates, Mexican authorities, relatives or neighbors that can be contacted at any time.
“This program is particularly important for single people living Lakeside to help them, their loved ones and friends prepare,” said Terry Vidal, Executive Director of LCS. The Registry Form includes contact information for yourself, doctors, friends, family, attorney/legal contacts, funeral home arrangements and household information from pets to household staff. Terry said that people who register can be assured that their information is considered confidential and the form is designed so that no sensitive or financial data is collected. The information is stored electronically and available 24/7.
Marianne O’Halloran, the Post-Life Manager, said that the form though comprehensive, has limited required fields. Within a week of registering, individuals can stop by LCS for a printed copy to keep in their records. Marianne said that the administrative fee for registration is only $50 pesos per person and that all updates are free.
“It can be a problem to keep the contact info up to date!” says Marianne. She also reminds us to find someone you trust – a friend, neighbor, or a family member is a must to share a copy of your registry with. “It’s something that everyone needs to think about,” she added.
Terry said that over the years he has been contacted many times by varying authorities. One unfortunate incident was when a member of the LCS Singles Group was found dead in his home when children and teachers complained about the smell emanating from his house across the street. Since he was registered, LCS was able to contact his children NOB who then took care of his affairs.
But this is not always the case. Many times LCS has been contacted and could not help. This is unfortunate because some of the bodies end up in limbo in the Mexican system for years. Recently LCS was contacted by municipal authorities regarding unclaimed bodies being kept in refrigerated tractor trailers. Of the two foreigners amongst these bodies, LCS, through the Post-life/Emergency Registry, helped identify one of the deceased. Don’t let this happen to you or a loved one. Be prepared!
LCS has a resource guide to help residents prepare. The booklet, “Being Prepared for Life and Death Lakeside,” provides important information about Mexican Wills, Health Care Directives and Post Life Wishes, Powers of Attorney, Notario Publicos, lists of funeral homes and other resources for emergencies and the inevitable. The American Legion Post 7 in Chapala and My Guardian Angel have partnered with LCS and participate in the Post-Life/Emergency Registry Program.
The booklet is available at the LCS Office or at the American Legion during office hours. To learn more and access the booklet online, visit: https://www.lakechapalasociety.com/public/post-life--emergency-planning.php