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In Mexico, the answer is simple, the parent goes to live in the house of one of the children, and continues to work as much as possible in whatever way he or she can. It's common for these old people to take care of the children, cook, or even sit all day long at a tiendita and sell soda and snacks. They do these activities until they die.
Sadly, many people suffer from one or more disabling illnesses that affects their independence greatly. Perhaps mental disabilities are the worst, since they make it hard for people to interact with their families or friends. One time, I was in my car and I saw an old man in the middle of the road. I offered him a ride, and he took me to several well-known towns, unable to figure out where he was or where he was going. He didn't even remember his own name or where he wanted to go. Fortunately, his relatives saw me and I was able to leave him with them. They told me it wasn't the first of his "escapades."
Illnesses don't respect borders and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease affect old people in the United States too. In these situations, many people opt to put their parents in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, the prices of these facilities have gone up and many people can't afford them anymore, nor pay for the care their parents need at home.
The solution for many is to send their parents to a nursing home in Mexico. It is not only a much cheaper option than in the United States, but the weather is better and the food is more natural.
How much does it cost? I stopped by one of these places a couple of days ago. The cost for a single room with all care (referred to "as if the person were a baby") was $7,500 pesos for a month, which is about $570 American dollars. The home was run by nuns and they told me that they only admitted women over 70, that they were at full capacity, and that they had people on a waiting list.
The place looked clean. It had a big fountain with a statue of Jesus in the middle of a garden that was surrounded by the bedrooms. It didn't seem that it had more space than that, but considering the kind of situation people who lived there were, I don't think it's necessary. The place was clean and nice, and it had nice flowers and vegetation. Frankly, I think it's not a bad place at all to be if your mental capabilities are starting to fade.
Want to know more? Read about things about Mexican healthcare that surprise Americans.
Robert Ervin is a freelancer who writes about healthcare, medical tourism, and living in Mexico.
If you're considering traveling to Mexico for healthcare or retiring in Mexico, you may want to get yourself a copy of The English's Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico in order to find a good doctor or hospital in the main towns and cities of Mexico, or The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico, to understand how the Mexican healthcare system works.