A RETIREE´S VIEW FROM MEXICO: BUENA VIDA

By: Terry McKinnon  |  CBSnews.com

It’s estimated that thousands of Americans and Canadians aren’t just picturing it — they’re living it, in a lakeside town in Mexico just a short drive from Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. With Mexican immigrants in the United States serving as a political hot potato, the lesser discussed issue is the number of Americans who relocate to Mexico, CBS Detroit reported.

The number of foreign-born residents of Mexico doubled between 2000 and 2010, according to the Huffington Post, with Americans representing three-quarters of the documented foreigners.

WWJ Newsradio report Sandra McNeill caught up with Terry McKinnon, a former Detroiter who retired to Mexico ten years ago.

“I looked at my income,” he said. “I was going to end up on Social Security in a year or two at that time and I would have been in subsidized housing.”

McKinnon said he doesn’t even know how he would have been able to afford insurance for his car.

Then he saw a story on Ajijic. He decided to give it six months. “It was at six months that I got a dog, because I knew that this was home; I’d found it.”

McNeill met many Americans and Canadians on a recent trip to the town with cobblestone streets and buildings that are hundreds of years old. A woman from San Diego told her she couldn’t afford to live in the U.S. anymore. A retired couple from Wisconsin told her they came to Ajijic just to visit, and on the second day they bought a house.

McKinnon said there are no hard government census numbers for the area that surrounds Lake Chapala. “My guess would be 5,000 to 7,000 (expatriates) year-round and as many as 15,000 in the winter.”

The cost to live in the area, McKinnon said, varies depending on how much and where you like to go out, and whether you buy or rent. “People are living here…It can be done, on a tight budget, it can be done on a $1,000 a month,” said McKinnon. “You couldn’t live on $1,000 a month in the Detroit area.”

The town is rustic. It’s not unusual to see someone sauntering down the street on the way home from work on a horse. There are horses grazing on grass at the sides of the roads at every turn.

Healthcare, said McKinnon, is subsidized by the Mexican government for permanent residents. “Many of the doctors are taught in the United States…I think the healthcare system is much better than the United States. When I go in and talk with the doctor, he knows me, we know each other. It’s not in and out in five minutes and on to his next patient to make another $500. He’ll spend a half hour, easily, with me, talking.”

Susan Case of Madison, Wisconsin — who bought the house on the second day — said, “Oddly, I haven’t found anything even slightly difficult. It’s been very, very eye-opening to me that’s been as easy as it has been. We have not had any trouble getting used to anything.”

When McNeill asked what’s the hardest part about being American and living in Mexico, McKinnon found it difficult to fight back the tears.

“The hardest thing to adjust to is actually the quality of the Mexican people….They’re the kindest, gentlest people and they’re so helpful and so friendly. You feel cared about down here. I came here alone, I knew no one. And I have friends, and I feel loved.”

YUCATAN MEXICO REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TIPS FOR RETIREES

Alfonso Galindo | BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com

An emerging personal finance trend has seen retirees and people in pre-retirement making investments in foreign real estate, especially in emerging markets. The potential benefits are very enticing; these regions are seeing growth and appreciation rates that exceed those in domestic markets, and there’s built-in potential for generating income by renting the property to vacationers. Best of all, you can live there yourself during the cold-weather months and say goodbye to winter for the rest of your life!

In particular, Mexico real estate investments have shot to the forefront as an excellent opportunity. If you’re planning to retire, or if you’re phasing out of your career activity and looking to build up your personal portfolio, a Mexico real estate investment in Yucatan is well worth considering.

Yucatan Peninsula 3 hours coast to coast – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhy Invest in Yucatan?

Yucatan is considered by many to be one of Mexico’s “hidden gems.” However, this is slowly beginning to change, as more vacationers, expatriates and retirees are discovering its many charms.

As an investor, this is good news for you. The region has been seeing excellent property appreciation rates for several years running, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, many experts believe local real estate appreciation rates will actually continue to rise, since there have been major infrastructure improvements and roads to hidden beachfront villages, with more on the way.

Factor in year-round perfect weather and world-renowned beaches, and you’ve got a winning recipe for an excellent Mexico real estate investment.

Benefits for Retirees and People in Pre-Retirement

Beach in Yucatan with two people – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you’re retired or entering pre-retirement, chances are you already know that you’ll need a sound financial plan built around assets with appreciation potential. Ideally, you want those assets to be able to generate their own cash flow to mitigate the loss of regular income through your career. Real estate is widely considered the safest investment that meets all these criteria.

If you’ve never invested in foreign real estate before, you may be just as daunted by the unfamiliarity as you are excited by the profit potential. That’s completely normal. Use professional AMPI realtors (Mexico Associating of Professional Realtors ) that are are here to provide you will all the support and resources you need to ensure a Yucatan property is the right investment decision for you.

We recommend:
RENT before for a few months to try different parts of town or even the state.
Speak to a mortgage broker or financial adviser to see how much money you can safely invest in a Yucatan property without putting your overall stability at risk.
Cenote in Yucatan – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCarefully research all available opportunities in the market you’re most interested in. Yucatan has much to offer: beachfront condominiums and villas, beachfront lots, haciendas, colonial homes with properties in all price ranges.
Talk to other investors in the area, and visit Yucatan yourself for a firsthand look.
Familiarize yourself with foreign ownership requirements and residency requirements.
Don’t compare property prices you see here in Mexico to back in your home country, because otherwise everything will look like a steal.
Ask the locals what REAL prices of homes for sale are tin the area.
Right now, a full range of exciting ownership and investment opportunities are available in Yucatan as the community continues to grow and expand.
Come visit and explore but most of all enjoy your stay with us in Yucatan.

THE CASE FOR RETIREMENT IN MEXICO

By: Kathleen Peddicord | Money.UsNews.com

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, was an unknown fishing outpost until the 1920s when Arizonan John Stone opened a hotel and casino targeting Americans who wanted to escape prohibition. Today, this town is known as Puerto Peñasco in Mexico and Rocky Point north of the border. Surprisingly, it got its English name first, in 1826, from a retired Royal Navy admiral who was in the area scouting for precious metals. In the 1930s, the Mexican president renamed the town Puerto Punta Peñasco, later dropping the “Punta.”

Perhaps the biggest appeal of Puerto Peñasco to American retirees is that this spot is only 62 miles from the U.S. border. That’s just over three and a half hours by car from Phoenix, Arizona, or six hours from San Diego, California.

We Americans often overlook Mexico, because it’s right next door. Sometimes it feels too convenient to qualify as a retire overseas destination. However, that convenience factor is exactly why certain spots in this country can be perfect for both expat retirees and second home owners.

You can easily drive back and forth between Puerto Peñasco and the United States. One of the biggest hassles when you have a home abroad, especially if it’s a part-year residence, is getting there and back. In Puerto Peñasco, you can just pack up the car, throw the dog in the back seat and go. When you cross the border in Lukeville, Arizona, you enter a “hassle-free vehicle zone,” a program that allows you to drive your car into certain parts of Mexico without a vehicle permit, although you still need Mexican auto insurance. If you don’t live nearby, you could fly to Phoenix and rent a car or take a shuttle to Puerto Peñasco.

Not only is Mexico nearby and easily accessible, it’s also culturally familiar. The culture shock can be far less than in destinations farther south. One of the many things that will feel familiar in Puerto Peñasco is the shopping. You’ll find Sam’s Club, Auto Zone and Burger King.

Virtually everyone in Puerto Peñasco speaks English. If your Spanish skills are limited (or nonexistent) you’ll be fine in Puerto Peñasco. However, you’ll be rewarded if you try to speak some Spanish. You will be treated less like a tourist and welcomed more as a member of the local community.

In addition, you will have no trouble finding and connecting with fellow expats. Most of your neighbors will be from Arizona or California.

To top off the convenience factor, you can spend U.S. dollars here. However, you’ll often save money by buying in pesos, as this allows you to take advantage of the dollar’s current exchange rate advantage.

The area enjoys 362 days of sunshine per year. You’ll appreciate the brilliant sunshine and pleasant temperatures until July rolls around. Then you’re in for three months of very hot and sometimes humid weather. This would be a good time to return to the States to visit family or to travel elsewhere in Mexico or beyond. By October, the pleasant weather returns.

Puerto Peñasco’s main attraction is the beaches. Expats and second home owners here enjoy miles of wide, sandy beaches and warm, crystal clear waters. The main beach, just north of town (and cleverly named Sandy Beach), is 4.5 miles long, and almost 200 yards wide in places at low tide. The waters are calm and delightfully swimmable.

Best of all, you could own a two-bedroom condo on this beach for as little as $109,000. You could spend more, of course. Some homes cost upwards of $1 million. For that, you would enjoy an accompanying level of luxury. But single family homes with water views in a planned community start at $175,000.

Property markets in many areas of Mexico, including in Puerto Peñasco, are depressed. The great recession took its toll in this country, especially in the most popular second home markets, which have not recovered. Part of the reason for this is that Mexico has suffered a lot of bad press over the past six years. A swine flu epidemic fizzled after a few cases, but its legend carried on for years, and the drug violence in some border cities (and beyond) has affected the perception of the entire country. These continuing misperceptions mean opportunity for anyone willing to look beyond them.

The U.S. dollar is very strong against the Mexican peso right now. At today’s exchange rate of 16.8 pesos per U.S. dollar, prices are cheaper in Mexico than they’ve been in a long time. Real estate in Puerto Peñasco often trades in U.S. dollars, but the strong dollar makes all of your other costs much more affordable.

LIVING IN MEXICO: THE WHY, WHERE, AND HOW

By: TransitionsAbroad.com
My daughter wasn’t exactly thrilled when we said, “Honey, we’re selling the house, moving to Mexico, and not coming back to this city you’ve lived in for 10 years.” Like most kids though, she adjusted quickly and after making friends with kids in the neighborhood who didn’t speak English, she was fluent in Spanish in no time.

Moving to another city in the same country is stressful enough, but moving to a whole other country involves even more planning and preparation. Upon arrival, you confront a whole list of differences in culture, customs, and bureaucracy.

Why Move to Mexico?
Mexico is a relatively easy country to move to compared to many, however, partly because of how easy it is to get to from the U.S. or Canada. While income requirements have gone up for a non-working residency visa, the process is relatively straightforward and unlike in much of Europe, getting a work visa is not difficult either once you have a job offer.

The language is one you can actually use in multiple countries and almost any Mexican city of a decent size has Spanish schools where you can get lessons for a reasonable price. You can also find an experienced private tutor for $10 or less an hour or do a language exchange of English lessons for Spanish ones. There’s a mind-boggling array of books, online courses, and videos to help you learn the language.

You don’t have to be a pioneer going down a thorny path when moving south of the Rio Grande. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners have gone before you and in some of the most popular areas there are thousands of them there you can get advice from in person or on local message boards. There are excellent books to consult on the World’s Cheapest Destinations, and plenty of e-books you can buy for specific places and subjects.

While there are certainly cheaper places to live in Latin America, like Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Ecuador, Mexico’s proximity, flight choices, and great food make it a better choice for a lot of retirees and families. Medical care is good in almost any city (no long trips to get to a private hospital) and dental care is excellent throughout the country, assuming you’re not moving to a tiny pueblo somewhere. Any doctor or dentist working on you will cost a fraction of what you would spend in the bloated U.S. health care system—with better service.

It’s hard to estimate costs since some people are comfortable living like a low-middle-class Mexican and others need to duplicate the style of living they had in their home country. In general, most expatriates live a better life in Mexico than they did previously for anywhere from 30% to 60% less. The “better life” part often includes a maid, gardener, or inexpensive babysitter in the mix. Here you can get custom furniture and kitchen cabinets for less than what’s available prefab in stores at home.

Be advised though that some things do cost more, such as electronics, appliances, and cheap items from China like clothing and toys. It’s hard to top the United States for relentless price competition and its efficient distribution system.

After a lower cost of living and better health care, the reason many people make the move is for either better weather or quality of life. It’s warm all year in Mexico of course, downright hot in a place like Los Cabos. But many popular cities are in the highlands, so you can get an “eternal spring” climate that’s cooler than the southern United States in places like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Cuernavaca, Ajijic, Zacatecas, or San Cristobal de Las Casas. Even Mexico City is far cooler than Texas or Louisiana.

Where to Live in Mexico?

Nobody can answer the question of “Where should I live in Mexico” except you. The country is incredibly diverse geographically, from hot beaches to snow-capped mountains, humid jungles to bone-dry deserts. The best way to figure out which place really speaks to you is to figure out your priorities and do some exploratory trips to try them out. Many times I’ve read about how great a place is, only to be disappointed in what I have found upon arrival. The very first day I visited my home of Guanajuato, however, I called my wife and said, “I think I’ve found the place where we should live.” (We did a one-month trial run and decided I was right. Now we own a home here.)

Here are some of the most popular places for expats in Mexico and whom they’re good for:

San Miguel de Allende – Around 25% of the 40,000 population here is foreigners. Good for those who don’t speak much Spanish, who like spring-like weather, and enjoy walkable picture-perfect colonial streets.

Ajijic – On Lake Chapala near Guadalajara, another place where you seem to see as many gringos as locals. Good for those who want American-style homes with garages and don’t mind depending on a car.

Puerto Vallarta region – Full of foreigners who came and forgot to leave, a tourist magnet with lots of beachfront condos and hillside homes with panoramic views. For beach bums and barflies, seafood lovers and those who want multiple flight choices out.

Sayulita region – The coast stretching north from Punta de Mita is full of surfers and bohemians, plus rich people who used to be one or the other. Wilder beaches and mellower towns than Puerto Vallarta, but with the same easy air access.

Los Cabos region – Southern Baja is a very hot place, a desert landscape by the sea. Favored by Californians with lots of money to spend, those who want luxury digs and golf courses. La Paz and Loreto are the more laid-back alternatives to the north on the peninsula.

Mexico City – The world’s second-largest city by population has a strong pull for those who want an urban lifestyle akin to other world capitals but at a lower price. Many come here for jobs and end up staying or they find multiple freelance opportunities through the strong local network.

Oaxaca – A colonial city with a large indigenous population, this is Mexico’s finest food destination and offers a lot to explore in the surrounding region, culturally and for adventure activities.

Merida – Just a short hop from the US in the Yucatan state, this flat colonial city near the coast gets quite hot part of the year, but attracts residents with a gorgeous historic center, easy beach access, and great Mayan ruins to explore nearby. Lots of retirees are spread along the nearby Gulf Coast beach towns.

Cancun and Riviera Maya – As with Puerto Vallarta, many come here on vacation and decide to buy or rent something more permanent, especially in Playa del Carmen, where there’s a large expat community. Prices are not so cheap in Mexico’s #1 tourist destination and it’s a warped version of Mexico, but well-equipped condos and good restaurants are geared to foreign tastes.

Mazatlan – This west coast area offers some of the best beach city values and is probably has the lowest foreigner-to-Mexican ratio of the beach communities in Mexico: most of the tourists are domestic. Foreigners enjoy the tight-knit community, great housing options, a colonial center, and golf.

If the idea of moving to Mexico only to be surrounded by people from your own country is not appealing, it’s easy to find a place where you can do the opposite. This is a very big country with metropolitan cities and gorgeous “Magic Towns” that are more manageable spread from coast to coast. Schools are better in the former, prices are lower in the latter. Naturally the smaller the town, the faster you’ll need to learn Spanish.

How to Move to Mexico?

For many, moving to Mexico is as simple as entering the country and then going home six months later. From most developed countries you can get a tourist visa for 180 days just for the asking upon arrival. Many snowbirds get one of these every year, living half the year in Mexico and half the year elsewhere. Some stay close to a year by going on vacation once abroad and starting the clock over again upon their return.

Becoming a permanent resident of Mexico requires several years of living in the country: four for most people, two for those married to a Mexican national.

Therefore, even if you plan to move here for good, you first need to apply for a temporary resident visa in your own country and finish the process where you’re going to live in Mexico. You renew it for several years and can then apply for permanent residency. See these Transitions Abroad articles on the process for getting a temporary resident work visa or non-working resident visa.

You can try to set up a rental or purchase in advance, but in most cases you’re better off finding a temporary vacation rental or inexpensive hotel and looking for a permanent place to live after arrival. Some opportunities are only advertised locally or are not advertised at all: you need to ask around.

You can drive a car into Mexico, but you have to drive it back out again and laws are getting stricter on residents bringing their own vehicle indefinitely. In many cities you don’t need one anyway: streets are pedestrian-friendly, taxis are cheap, and the bus systems are good for both local and city-to-city transportation. If you buy a car locally, you’ll pay more than you would in the United States or Canada, despite the fact that many US cars are made here.

In theory you can get your household goods shipped to Mexico, but it’s expensive and you’ll often be hit up for a 17% duty on some items. Many decide to drive down a loaded vehicle, unload everything, drive it back, then fly back down. We decided to just come with lots of suitcases instead and pay a few baggage fees. That means our house wasn’t instantly furnished, but we are able to get things made to our liking and buy interesting handcrafted items.

One important thing you’ll need to pack: extra patience. Nothing moves as quickly or efficiently as you’re used to and Mexicans don’t resolve problems by shouting or insulting people. Get used to the idea that things will happen when they happen and adjust to a life of less hurry, less worry.

WHY SINGLE WOMEN SHOULD RELOCATE TO MEXICO

By Kerry Baker | NextAvenue.org

For many 50+ women, work is becoming more and more contractual and virtual, pushing us to develop new ideas and to reinvent ourselves.

As we determine our next income-producing strategy, it might be time to develop a financial defense strategy that preserves our assets while we’re planning the next stage of our lives.

My Move to Mazatlan

I recently left my home in Denver and traveled to Mazatlan (a Mexican city across from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula) to determine if I could approximate in Mexico the features of a good life for a single woman in the U.S. — and at what cost.

I also wanted to see how connected I could stay to friends and family stateside as I researched new work opportunities.

Many people have chosen to move to Mexico to stretch their savings, of course. And there are plenty of books, websites and chat rooms geared to life there for an expat. But most contributors to those resources are part of a couple, with different priorities than those of a single woman.

I wanted to know things like:

Would I be able to find single girl friends?
How could I stay in shape?
How could I keep in touch with my friends back home?
And the ever-important: How much would it cost for me to be happy there on my own?

I figured, if I couldn’t answer those questions, what else mattered?

After spending a month with my flip-flops on the ground, I’ve realized that I didn’t need to have an answer for every challenge of living in Mexico for the rest of my life. Instead, I should have focused more on the basics, studying customs procedures and practicing currency exchange. Managing money produced much more anxiety on the trip than any fear of Dengue fever.

Mexico’s Allures for Single Women Over 50

After my immersive approach to life in Mazatlan, I’ve identified nine reasons why single women over 50 should consider moving to Mexico:

1. Life is more interesting here. Many people suggested I move somewhere in the U.S. that had a cheaper cost of living than Denver, such as Stratton, Colorado or Dallas, Texas. But I think living on the beach and taking a water taxi to the gym is way better. I still have a lot of adventure left in me.

2. You can make your nest egg last longer. Living in Mexico is less expensive than many parts of America. Once I found a place I liked on the beach, I calculated I’d cut my monthly expenses by half. Once I learn my way around, I bet I’ll spend even less, which will help make my savings last longer.

3. Technology has made connecting with people in the U.S. easier than ever. Facebook, Skype, Viber (a service that lets you call or send messages or photos to other Viber users anywhere for free) and online has created numerous ways of staying in touch.

Long-term friendships, a lifeblood for most women, are much easier to maintain abroad than even five years ago. Some friends will require a bit more coaching (as I did), but once you walk them through the steps of setting up internet-based communication, it’s easy.

4. It’s easy to make new friends there. Ever-larger expat communities in Mexico, largely Canadian and American, means there are more people to meet. Expat living promotes an egalitarianism that facilitates building friendships quickly with women of all ages and backgrounds.

Within two weeks of my arrival, I was strolling down the Malecon (a stone embankment or esplanade along a waterfront), drinking horchata (a dairy-free, sweet milky beverage) and swooning over hand-made purses with women I felt like I‘d known for years.

5. As a single woman, you won’t feel shy asking for help and advice. There’s truth to those stereotypes that women ask for directions but men don’t. I’ve found that women are typically more comfortable asking for help and advice than men.

This attribute comes in handy when you move abroad, since you’ll be on a constant quest for information. Whether it’s ‘What rent should I expect to pay?’ or ‘What’s the Spanish word for celery salt?,’ being able to ask is an essential skill in a new country.

6. It’s a great place to be when you’re in a life transition. Many of my friends moved to new cities after going through a divorce and I’ve discovered that a sojourn in Mexico can offer a distracting change in environment that lets you financially tread water while putting yourself back together. People laughingly told me that half the expats in Mazatlan were recovering from breakups.

7. Your sense of opportunity will be on overdrive. Within hours of landing in Mexico, I was already thinking of new business enterprises that would allow me to earn income there. Expats are often inspired to meet local unmet needs that seem obvious when you just arrive.

8. It’s a cinch to go back and forth to the states when you want. As a single person, you only have your own agenda and schedule to follow. So it’s a breeze to pick up and go.

9. Living arrangements here can be more flexible when you’re single. I’m sharing a house near the marina for my first six months in Mexico with a wonderful Canadian who has lived in Mazatlan for 12 years and is eager to introduce me to life there. That kind of arrangement is a great way to get to know a place and have fun, too.

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN ELDERLY PARENTS CHOOSE TO LIVE AT HOME ALONE

It’s difficult to witness the deterioration of physical or mental abilities in an aging parent, grandparent or other loved one. Whether or not we’re well-equipped or prepared, the reality remains that many of us will be tasked with making impactful decisions associated with caring for an elderly loved one. Since 80 to 90 percent of elderly people would choose to reside in their own homes as long as possible, as opposed to a nursing home or independent care, the new role for elderly caregivers can be challenging. The baby boomer generation has now reached a point where they need to be conscious of their caregivers, while still maintaining their independence and active lifestyle.

Many of us would undoubtedly prefer that our elderly loved ones stay in our homes to ensure they are well taken care of and properly cared for. However, this situation can become very stressful for the family as a whole, since leaving an aging parent home alone can pose a major issue if they slip and fall with no one around to help or are unable to follow hospital discharge regimens or daily routines on their own. With that said, we all know that life does not stop and give us a break when we take on new challenges or roles, and since nursing home costs continue to increase, today’s technology is striving to make that choice easier by providing families peace of mind in helping elderly loved ones age independently.

Here are five things to consider when elderly parents choose to live home alone:
1. Essential Needs Delivered to the Door

Healthy eating is an essential component in ensuring physical and emotional well being. Driving can be a challenging activity for an elderly parent, which means basic needs like groceries and medicine refills need to be delivered to the door. To make things a bit simpler, efficient and work-from-home friendly, consider online grocery shopping to help reduce the physical stress of standing in line at the local market store.

2. Preparing the Home

Patients often ask me how they can properly prepare a home for aging parents, since the home in which they reside should be a safe haven. I often recommend that they first take a moment to put themselves in their loved one’s shoes and recognize when and where common needs or hazards may arise in key areas like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Some common and basic changes include: Installing bathroom rails to help support them when they walk through the house and avoid unexpected slips and falls, lowering shelves in the pantry so they can easily access items, adding more lighting and removing floor hazards. These changes around the home are basic and simple to do, and can provide caregivers with an added measure of confidence in having a parent live alone.

We should also consider how technology can play a major role in creating a safe environment for the elderly. The latest home security systems can provide caregivers with a real-time overview of the parent’s home (of course, with their permission). By simply using a tablet or smartphone, you can instantly review video footage of key areas in near real-time, and remotely control lights, locks and thermostats.

3. Ensuring Health Care Measures

Many hospital discharge regimens require the daily task of taking medicines or checking blood sugar levels, which may seem inconsequential when there’s no one there to remind you, but healthy seniors must focus on the maintenance for their good health in order to extend their time living at home as much as possible. Stay in contact with the doctor, pharmacist and/or nurse of an elderly loved one. You can provide extra support in encouraging them to be proactive in the maintenance of their health.

It is very important to understand their medical needs, including how frequently doctors’ appointments should occur, and how to implement a low-intensity exercise regimen. Using mobile health tools like “smart” pill bottles can help alleviate some of the tasks on your end, since they remind patients to take their medicine, or you can use a calendar app to track and anticipate upcoming doctors’ appointments. Ultimately, it’s important to remain sensitive to changes in their health, to help monitor when independently living is no longer the best option.

4. In Case of an Emergency

Caregivers are often concerned when their elderly loved ones are home alone, especially since one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. This can become a major crisis if no one is present to help assist when they fall.

When falls and acute medical events (such as heart attacks or strokes) occur, each second that passes matters. Personal emergency response systems (PERS), which allow users to easily and quickly call for help in an emergency by pushing a button, can help provide caregivers with peace-of-mind should a loved one suffer a mishap. Also, mobile PERS solutions can take that one step further to strike the perfect balance between care and freedom. They include things like GPS capability, which could help locate an elderly parent in the event of an accident, automatic fall detection and two-way phone communication, giving new meaning to elderly independence for the healthy aging population as well as those living with chronic conditions.

5. Addressing Emotional Needs

Many elderly parents want to demonstrate their ability to continue managing their own lives, but the need for sincere companionship still exists — even among those living with a spouse. Feelings of loneliness can have health consequences among the elderly. Research indicates that loneliness increases the risk of an untimely death by 45 percent among the elderly, according to a study by the University of California, San Francisco.

Meaningful emotional contact is essential for an aging parent — even simple gestures, such as having others listen and share words of encouragement can positively influence their morale. With the vast popularity and presence we’re seeing in adult mobile smartphone owners – seven out of ten seniors own a cell phone, mobile video chat can make visual communication possible when adult children live outside the region. Even if an initial training session is necessary, the ability to view each other’s faces will be worth the effort.

Also, keep in mind that seniors are accustomed to leading productive lives, as are you, and their days should involve hobbies and engaging activities. Help arrange regular visits to the local community center for basic computer or senior aerobics classes. It’s all about finding ways to help nourish a sense of belonging and purpose, which is something we all need!

The decision to have an elderly parent leave their home should not be driven by fear or concerns. Today’s healthy seniors have new resources to make life easier as they continue enjoying the freedom of living independently. With today’s innovative approach to the way we communicate with each other via technology, caregivers and the elderly can have strong confidence in the future.