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Kim G

Questions About Ajijic/North Shore Chapala Assisted Living

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Hi Folks, 

I recently joined this forum. There's quite a bit about me on my "about" page, as well as a link to my blog if you're more curious. I have a long history of time spent in Mexico, but I've never been to Ajijic, though I'm well aware of its status as a Gringo haven. I did spend a week in Guadalajara in 2014 (during a road trip where I spent 3 months driving around Mexico), but it was toward the end of my trip and I didn't have the energy to go to Ajijic. I know, silly, and I regret it. But I can't change the past. 

I'm going to be in Ajijic and environs next week to scout out assisted living facilities for my 88 year old mother. Mom is in OK shape, but getting a bit forgetful, suffers a lot of aches and pains, and walks unsteadily with a walker, and can no longer live alone.  (By the way, I also speak Spanish fluently, though for the purpose of this trip, I'm pretending I don't, since mom doesn't and I want her to be in a place she's comfortable communicating with staff and residents.)

 

I've scheduled site visits with the following:

La Valentina, Mi Casita, Casa Nostra, Nursing Home Lake Chapala, Alicia's Convalescent Nursing and Assisted Living Home, Casa Anastasia Care Home (all in Ajijic)

Lakeside Care (Jaltepec)

Ohana (San Juan Cosalá)

There are a few others I'm going to try to see. But I'm hoping that folks might provide me any insights they have on these places, or provide some new names that I might check out. I'll be arriving Tuesday night and staying through the 20th. 

Thanks in advance, and if you have not-nice things to say, feel free to PM me. In fact, I'm especially looking for the negatives that the facilities themselves will never tell me. 

Thanks,

Kim G

 

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Wow! I've got 120 views on this post and not a single opinion??? Really, anything would help, including names of places that I don't have listed. 

Please help! Thanks!

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Trouble is although I have been coming to Ajijic-Chapala since 1996, I have heard of retirement homes here, but I know nothing about them. I would help if I could. Sorry about that.

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Perhaps it is because you did not say that you would be moving to look after your mother, rather than just putting her in one of those places.  Will your mother have a residency visa?  Lots of other concerns that did not encourage me to answer your first post either.

 

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Just now, RVGRINGO said:

Perhaps it is because you did not say that you would be moving to look after your mother, rather than just putting her in one of those places.  Will your mother have a residency visa?  Lots of other concerns that did not encourage me to answer your first post either.

 

We had a poster who was considering the same issue: putting her father in such a facility but not being in a position to live here as yet; still working in Canada.  The general opinion was that this was a very bad idea.  It's hard enough for a person to lose his/her independence and familiar surroundings, but to also find oneself in a foreign country without their relative to give emotional support would be much worse.

So, what are your plans?

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39 minutes ago, johanson said:

Trouble is although I have been coming to Ajijic-Chapala since 1996, I have heard of retirement homes here, but I know nothing about them. I would help if I could. Sorry about that.

Thanks for the reply, Johanson. I appreciate it nonetheless. Have a great day!

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39 minutes ago, RVGRINGO said:

Perhaps it is because you did not say that you would be moving to look after your mother, rather than just putting her in one of those places.  Will your mother have a residency visa?  Lots of other concerns that did not encourage me to answer your first post either.

 

Hola RV Gringo! Thanks for the reply.  Yes, I will be around to look after my mother, though where exactly I'll live remains an open question. As for visa, yes, I'm hoping to get my mother a resident visa. But the first step is to find a place where she could be safe and happy living, and then see if she really wants to live there.  What are your other concerns? Perhaps I could address them. Thanks! 

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37 minutes ago, gringal said:

We had a poster who was considering the same issue: putting her father in such a facility but not being in a position to live here as yet; still working in Canada.  The general opinion was that this was a very bad idea.  It's hard enough for a person to lose his/her independence and familiar surroundings, but to also find oneself in a foreign country without their relative to give emotional support would be much worse.

So, what are your plans?

Hola Gringal, 

My plan is not just to drop my mother somewhere around Lake Chapala and then bid her "Adios!" However exactly where I might live, whether that be on the lakeside, in Guadalajara, or elsewhere remains an open question. My longstanding desire has been to live in Mexico City, and in fact I lived most of 2016 there. But now that strikes me as a bit far to see my mother very often if she's in Chapala/Ajijic.  What I'm envisioning is at a minimum some kind of transition period where I live either lakeside or in GLD so that I can see my mother frequently, observe the facility up close via repeated visits, and then (assuming she's settled in and happy) investigate where else I might live. 

Unfortunately, I'm her only child and she's now widowed. I own a house in Boston where I've lived since 1995, but I've been stuck at my mother's house in California since Xmas 2016, when I came for a Christmas visit. First, my stepfather died shortly after my arrival. Then my mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. So I stayed here to look after her and to help coordinate the medical care. Fortunately she's as cured as possible at this stage (no detectable cancer), having finished the final chemo in mid-February of this year. But she can't live alone, and frankly she's a bit socially isolated anyway. So I think it'd be MUCH better for her to be around more people in exactly the kind of situation that I'm (from afar) finding exists in some of the assisted living places I've identified. 

I've already made a huge sacrifice, having basically put my life on hold for more than a year-and-a-half. And while I'm committed to making sure she's in a good situation, I can't abandon the rest of my life either. Were I willing to do so, I'd just stay here with her in California, and leave her in place. In any case, there's more background on this blog post which outlines my thinking and how I came to be investigating Ajijic/Chapala. https://gringosuelto.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/next-steps/ . Thanks for replying, and if you know anything helpful, that would be nice for both me and my mother.  Thanks again!

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P.S. @Gringal. Yes, I'm in total agreement that dropping an elderly relative into a place in Ajijic and then returning to a full-time job in Canada or the USA is a bad idea. That has NEVER been my intention. By the way, I left a lot of details out of the initial post as it seemed to me to be a lot to ask people to read the whole, long story. Saludos!

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I would suggest that there a few seniors living under the radar in the many nursing facilities at Lakeside. The downside is that they can not enroll in IMSS and or SP and must be prepared to pay as you go for medical care. Why not talk directly with the NH mangers and find out the options. Do you really think the INN will track you down if you over stay your tourist visa!!! How many do you see sitting on the bench in Chapala Plaza!!!!

Let me make a general statement on all the nursing facilities. Most provided tender loving care , some in new premises , others in converted old and some  newer splendid  homes. Some (most) have minal qualified staff. Hence all the staff do not get paid a Nurse pay because they are not. Many are Maids working as aides and are paid accordingly. Prices vary from the care needed and the quality of the premises etc., ballpark range $850 to $1800 usd 

It is unfair to compare NOB cost vis Mexico , because MX does not have the same regulations etc, but most can and do provide good care. Please pay a personal visit to the homes and what you see is what you get (or less). Many have rooms which are shared. Depending on your Mothers condition she may like that.Many do not have ensuite bathrooms but seem to get by by using a commode.

Interestingly what you think maybe good for your Mum many not be the facility she will love. Good luck

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My mother-in-law spent about 4 years in a couple of Alicia’s facilities. She had had a stoke  many years earlier and was partially paralyzed. She received excellent nursing care until she passed away.

I also have some friends whose parents are at Casa Nostra. Dementia and  Alzheimers. Many of the residents there are in need of assisted living and others there for rehab after surgeries. No bad stories there.

Since you are looking for the best care someone can provide for your mother you’ll probably be better off just setting up appointments for each of the facilities for a personal visit. You’ll be a better judge of what’s best for her rather than anyone posting on this board.  Visit at meal time and spend some time talking to the residents.

Be aware however that people her  age do not take well to change so no matter how  good the place is she could  have trouble adjusting.

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Hola @lakeside7!

Thanks so much for the reply!!! I'm going to land at GLD on Tuesday evening, and will personally visit all the places listed above. My plan is to weed out the obvious "no's" and then bring my mother back to see the places that I think would be nice for her. But the final decision will be up to her, as it's her life. 

At this stage of her life, she needs assistance more than nursing. Which is to say that mom's kind of achy to be doing much housework or cooking, but not bedridden or particularly handicapped, save for needing a walker and tiring easily.  Of course as she gets older her needs for medical care will likely increase. But for now, what she truly needs is some place that can help her with activities of daily living like cooking, cleaning, and getting around. 

Thanks again, and have a great day!

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Just now, John Shrall said:

My mother-in-law spent about 4 years in a couple of Alicia’s facilities. She had had a stoke  many years earlier and was partially paralyzed. She received excellent nursing care until she passed away.

I also have some friends whose parents are at Casa Nostra. Dementia and  Alzheimers. Many of the residents there are in need of assisted living and others there for rehab after surgeries. No bad stories there.

Since you are looking for the best care someone can provide for your mother you’ll probably be better off just setting up appointments for each of the facilities for a personal visit. You’ll be a better judge of what’s best for her rather than anyone posting on this board.  Visit at meal time and spend some time talking to the residents.

Be aware however that people her  age do not take well to change so no matter how  good the place is she could  have trouble adjusting.

Hola John!

Yes, I'm going to be personally visiting all the places listed next week. And if I could find a few more places, I'd visit them too. Hopefully I'll learn of some places while I'm there. As for my mother adapting to change, we shall see. She's pretty adaptable. And while she would prefer to stay in her current home, she has accepted that that isn't really possible. If nothing else she has a great attitude. 

Thanks for the specific comments on Alicia's (which I'm scheduled to see on Friday) and Casa Nostra (which I'm scheduled to see on Wednesday). 

Have a great day!!!

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I read your blog and what I gathered from that and your posts is that you strongly object to living in Ajijic.  No need to.  Chapala is a much livelier place and has fewer gringos.  Younger people of every persuasion are moving to this area and liberals are probably in the majority. My recommendation is that you give this area a try for at least a few months.  It would also be a great comfort to your mother if you were close by during her initial transition. 

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3 minutes ago, gringal said:

I read your blog and what I gathered from that and your posts is that you strongly object to living in Ajijic.  No need to.  Chapala is a much livelier place and has fewer gringos.  Younger people of every persuasion are moving to this area and liberals are probably in the majority. My recommendation is that you give this area a try for at least a few months.  It would also be a great comfort to your mother if you were close by during her initial transition. 

Hola Gringal!

Thanks for the info, particularly on Chapala. I certainly plan to give either lakeside or GDL a try for a few months, and definitely plan to be around for the initial months of my mother's transition. 

As for me, I'm just a big-city boy by nature. That's my biggest objection to living lakeside. I loved the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, all the people, museums, restaurants, activities, and general craziness going on at all hours. Here I'm in Redding, CA, a beautiful small city nestled in the transition zone between the northern tip of the Sacramento Valley and the mountains. We are surrounded with beautiful mountains, lakes, streams, and loads of outdoor stuff. It's beautiful, but it's just not for me. However, that said, I will certainly give the lakeside a chance and see what happens. Assuming my mother is willing to go there at all. 

Saludos and thanks again!

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Kim,

I'm a big city gal myself: raised in Los Angeles and went on to live up and down the CA coast including San Francisco, so I know how crazed I would get living in Redding, CA.  Before moving to lakeside, I lived in San Miguel de Allende for several years, and IMHO, it isn't what it's cracked up to be.  So....I empathize, but think this area just might grow on you.  One advantage is that you can drive to the beaches in around 4 hours and a new highway being built will make getting to Puerta Vallarta an even shorter trip.  Good luck.

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My mom moved in to the Casa Nostra in October of 2012. She loved every bit of every day. The "nurses" would give her back rubs and cover her with kisses. She died suddenly 6 weeks after she had moved in (she was 87).

On a side note: the day she moved in, I signed some documents related to her wishes to be cremated. The day she died, the doctor came in and proceeded to show me the locations of all the aches and pains my mom suffered from, then 2 kids showed up still wearing their football gear (Soccer for you NOB) and proceeded to remove my mom.

The total bill was about 6000 pesos

I love the way Mexicans handle death, to this day I still smile when I visualized these 2 kids in their soccer gear as well as the doctor shifting my mom around to give me my first GP lesson.

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2 hours ago, HoneyBee said:

My mom moved in to the Casa Nostra in October of 2012. She loved every bit of every day. The "nurses" would give her back rubs and cover her with kisses. She died suddenly 6 weeks after she had moved in (she was 87).

On a side note: the day she moved in, I signed some documents related to her wishes to be cremated. The day she died, the doctor came in and proceeded to show me the locations of all the aches and pains my mom suffered from, then 2 kids showed up still wearing their football gear (Soccer for you NOB) and proceeded to remove my mom.

The total bill was about 6000 pesos

I love the way Mexicans handle death, to this day I still smile when I visualized these 2 kids in their soccer gear as well as the doctor shifting my mom around to give me my first GP lesson.

Hola HoneyBee!

I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's sudden death, but it seems like Casa Nostra was a great place for her. That's EXACTLY the kind of feedback I'm looking for here, and I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to reply and share your experiences.  Thank You!

Saludos and have a great evening!!!

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Hola Gringal!

I grew up on the SF peninsula and lived in Los Angeles when in grad school, so our paths have probably crossed some time in the past 30 years. I appreciate you sharing your background and suggestions on Chapala. Thank you very much! 

Saludos and have a great evening!

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Have you considered vetting Assisted Living facilities in CDMX since that may be where you decide to live?

https://smartexpat.com/mexico/mexico-city/business/health/retirement-care

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=retirement_homes&find_loc=Mexico+City%2C+CDMX

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We have had several friends that spent time at Casa Nostra and we visited them often. They seemed very happy there and I was impressed with the facility and the staff. Since I don't have much direct experience with any of the other places my opinion is heavily slanted towards Casa Nostra. I would go there myself if and when the need arises.

Good luck with your search. I think you have a number of very good options.

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6 hours ago, Bisbee Gal said:

Have you considered vetting Assisted Living facilities in CDMX since that may be where you decide to live?

https://smartexpat.com/mexico/mexico-city/business/health/retirement-care

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=retirement_homes&find_loc=Mexico+City%2C+CDMX

Hola Bisbee Gal, 

Thanks for the links. Somehow while searching, I did not find either of those sites. I'll have to look into them. Thank You!!!

 

P.S.I had found some places  in CDMX, but ruled them out as my mother needs a place with a lot of English speakers as she doesn't speak Spanish. 

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2 hours ago, REC said:

We have had several friends that spent time at Casa Nostra and we visited them often. They seemed very happy there and I was impressed with the facility and the staff. Since I don't have much direct experience with any of the other places my opinion is heavily slanted towards Casa Nostra. I would go there myself if and when the need arises.

Good luck with your search. I think you have a number of very good options.

Hola REC,

Thank you for your feedback. This is EXACTLY the kind of input I've been looking for. I've got an appointment for Casa Nostra next week, so it's definitely under consideration. Thank you!!!

 

By the way (to all), I'm no longer allowed to "like" posts. I'm not sure why, but I got to a certain number of likes and now the system is telling me I can't do more. Weird!

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W“By the way (to all), I'm no longer allowed to "like" posts. I'm not sure why, but I got to a certain number of likes and now the system is telling me I can't do more. Weird!

This system allows only so many reactions per day. You will again be able to do so tomorrow. I do not know how many you are allowed or how long you are blocked (maybe 12 or 24 hours?).

 

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