One day about 5 months ago, I said to S, “We might drive up (from Tubac) to Green Valley (AZ) and look at La Posada.” La Posada https://laposadacommunities.org/ is a senior community that has all three levels of living – independent in one’s own house or apartment; assisted living for those with some health challenges whether physical or other; and memory care and hospice for the most severe challenges. These types of communities can be found in every state and are well regarded in many places.
S said to me, “You’re not ready for that!” And I said, “Maybe not yet, but I am looking down the road.” We are both “seniors” regardless what we think of the term. We are both fortunate to be active and alert, at least most of the time. As we talked further, she said, “I wonder if there’s something like La Posada in Mexico.” We had been traveling to Mexico, and liking it, on and off for the past 20+ years so it seemed to make sense to look and consider. She came back and said, “Bingo! There’s a place near San Miguel de Allende called Cielito Lindo, an assisted living facility that is within a larger housing development called Rancho Los Labradores. We had visited San Miguel numerous times and knew there was a large ex-pat community there who found SMA an appealing place to live for many reasons. We planned an exploratory trip in May and spent 3 days in residence in one of the villas (independent living) at Los Labradores.
We returned in June and leased a villa for a year to try it on and see how it fits. We aren’t pulling up stakes in the U.S., considering this year an experiment, and we are now “temporary residents” until we decide whether or not to extend our official residence status. If we do, we will have “permanent” resident status, keeping our U.S. passports. We will soon be here for 3 months and thus far, the experience is positive for the following reasons. Here’s the first quarter report:
- There are many couples, like us, and single folks, with former lives elsewhere. Some still have another place in the states; some have moved here permanently. Most are well-educated, financially secure, and have the freedom to choose to live anywhere. They and we chose to come here because it is a community of common concerns (see previous blog with that title), a lot of mutual respect and support and a list of amenities that make it an appealing place to live. And the weather is good year round with one hot month (May) and a rainy season.
- In a secure, gated development, the residences in Rancho Los Labradores are typical Mexican architecture, and within the community, there are four different areas, distinguished by types of houses that are built in each one, some still being built. A recently completed house not far from us is all solar, finished a year ago. The villas are semi-detached, often sharing a wall with a neighbor, many of them with a 2 br, 2 ba. floor plan, Saltillo floors and ours happens to have radiant heat, if needed. Other houses are larger, some with 4 br 4 bath, two stories. The streets are cobblestone, like San Miguel, and there is a different cultural aspect to life here, unlike the U.S. in many ways. The cost of living is less and prices are on the increase as Mexico’s economy has been getting stronger. Mexico’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.68% in June 2023.
- Cielito Lindo, the assisted living facility, is housed in a separate building adjacent to a hotel, a Café, swimming pools, tennis court and a clubhouse with a gym. The residents of Cielito Lindo are secure and comfortable, get outside for fresh air and sunshine and have their needs met by a trained and caring staff. If you are familiar with other assisted-living facilities, you know they can range from very limited and restricted buildings to more spacious arrangements with access to more activities and support. It is also possible to order a la carte services from Cielito Lindo in one’s own home.
Our mother/mother-in-law spent her later years (95-107) in two such places, one in Santa Fe, NM, called El Castillo and one in Oklahoma City called The Mansion, at Waterford. Each of these had similarities and differences and neither one was part of a larger community except for the city where each is located. The cost at Cielito Lindo, according to a friend whose husband is there, is 1/3 the cost in the U.S. for similar accommodations.
So, why now and why here? We did some homework and research, looked at locations, weather, cost and culture, and being the adventurous type, we believed that, for us, Rancho Los Labradores was a good option. None of us at this stage knows with any certainty what lies ahead, or when we might have to adjust and adapt to a change that is inevitable. So, why not now, while we can choose a community that is proving to be a place of many activities, caring neighbors and friends and readily available resources of every kind? Remembering this quote, by G.B.Shaw and used by JFK: “Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say, why not.”
Location, location, location. Some prefer the city and we prefer the country with easy access to the city. We are 8 miles from the city of San Miguel de Allende and there’s a shuttle 4 times a day to the city with return trips at different times. For those who know SMA, you know. For those who would like to know more about SMA, herewith: