Not long ago, I wrote a piece about how I felt it was important to consider bringing your parents or other elderly people to the Philippines so that you could provide care for them here. I argued that better care could be provided here for a fraction of the cost that you’d pay in the USA, and even with the smaller cost, the person being cared for could enjoy a higher quality of life. On of our regular readers here, Ron LaFleur e-mailed me last week to tell me that USA Today had run a front page story on a similar subject to what I had previously written about.
USA Today’s focus was on Senior Citizens from the USA going to Mexico to live out their remaining years in retirement facilities there in Mexico. I read the article with great interest, because it did dovetail nicely with what I had written. Actually, even with the various benefits offered by Mexico, which were spelled out in the article, I feel that the Philippines has even more to offer! Let’s look at a few things that I found particularly interesting in the article.
Firstly, the article in question has a video accompaniment, which is quite interesting. One elderly lady from Texas tells her story of her life in a Mexican nursing home. Her sons from the USA have even followed her down to Mexico and have been living in Mexico for over 5 years! Imagine, this is almost the reverse of the situation that I was suggesting, where the child would migrate to the Philippines, then when the parent is in need of care, he or she would move to the Philippines where their child is living. This lady said that she is paying about 1/3 of the costs for her care compared to what her friends in the States has to pay, and she felt that what she was getting was better! Another man featured in the video said that there was only way that he could describe what he gets in Mexico – “Quality of life.”
This caught my eye:
An estimated 40,000 to 80,000 American retirees already live in Mexico, many of them in enclaves like San Miguel de Allende or the Chapala area, says David Warner, a University of Texas public affairs professor who has studied the phenomenon. There are no reliable data on how many are living in nursing homes, but at least five such facilities are on Lake Chapala alone.
I don’t know for certain what the number is, but I have been told that a total of about 40,000 American live in the Philippines. Hmm… it seems that it could be double that number of American retirees who live in Mexico. And, from what I read, it would seem that this is a number which is growing and expected to continue growing! I believe that the Philippines can offer at least as good of amenities as Mexico gives to retirees, and probably better. Imagine the benefits to the Philippine economy if they could attract in thousands of retirees who need quality care to live out their days. It can be a benefit for the Philippines, and also for the retiree.
How about this:
Residents such as Richard Slater say they are happy in Mexico. Slater came to Lake Chapala four years ago and now lives in his own cottage at the Casa de Ancianos, surrounded by purple bougainvillea and pomegranate trees.
He has plenty of room for his two dogs and has a little patio that he shares with three other American residents. He gets 24-hour nursing care and three meals a day, cooked in a homey kitchen and served in a sun-washed dining room. His cottage has a living room, bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom and a walk-in closet.
For this Slater pays $550 a month, less than one-tenth of the going rate back home in Las Vegas. For another $140 a year, he gets full medical coverage from the Mexican government, including all his medicine and insulin for diabetes.
“This would all cost me a fortune in the United States,” said Slater, a 65-year-old retired headwaiter.
My goodness – this sounds almost like the way I am living! Imagine the benefits of an elderly person who is sickly living in a sunny place where he actually feels a will to live!
The article goes on to tell that foreigners who move to Mexico can enroll in Mexico’s Social Security medical program, which basically covers all of their medical needs. They can have surgery, get their medicines and everything needed all free of charge, or for a very small cost. This sounds similar to how we foreigners can enroll in PhilHealth here in the Philippines, except that the benefits are not nearly as good as what Mexico seems to be offering.
This business is becoming so lucrative, that some American companies are starting to move south of the border and opening medical care facilities in Mexico in addition to their US offerings.
I believe that is “medical outsourcing” is the wave of the future. With so many people of “baby boom” age becoming ready for retirement, moving to other countries where they can live more cheaply and still receive good care is something that will be critically important. The Philippines needs to plan for this, put a plan to work and attract these people. In addition to being good for the foreign retirees, it will help the Philippines in several ways. Pumping money in the economy is the most obvious help. But, right now Filipino nurses and doctors are exiting the country at an alarming rate to earn better money abroad. With things like Medical and Retirement tourism in place, it could be an avenue that would allow more of these professionals to remain in the Philippines where they can benefit their countrymen, benefit foreigners who decide to make this their home, and also earn a better living.