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Ecuador Expat Forum

Assisted living

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2/3/2021 12:26 EST

I was researching assisted living on the forum. I noticed last post was in 2019 and is now closed.

Wife and I are planning to move to Ecuador later this year. We we just investigating what was available for assisted living if we would require that in the future.

Does anyone have any more current information on what assisted living options there might be in the Salinas/Manta area?

Thanks in advance..........


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2/3/2021 15:27 EST

We're 70 and considered moving to Ecuador but decided we'd rather just visit twice a year. We didn't find any assisted living places in Cuenca area but did talk to some medical folks and determined that our best best would be to live in a house or condo that has a live-in area and hire someone to do cleaning, cooking, errands, bathing assistance, etc. since those are the things that can become difficult as we continue to age. Medical services are reasonable and it's most likely financially feasible to have a visiting nurse a few times a week to check on us and assure that we are properly medicating ourselves, doing some exercise and eating healthy meals. Our other must have was to be in a location that was walkable and had parks, etc. We have really enjoyed living in the old part of Cuenca and met many locals when we were relaxing in parts, shopping in grocery stores, and walking along the river. We have no desire to live in a facility unless absolutely necessary. That's also our current situation in the US and just added a room for a live-in when it becomes necessary for one, we live in a walkable area, and there's a park within a block of house.

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2/3/2021 15:59 EST

This can be seen as an interesting cultural question.

One of the central reasons I want to live in South America is that it is filled with predominantly heart centered cultures.

What does that mean in relation to this thread? A heart-centered culture is one where relationships and human connection are higher values than independence, convenience, and financial accumulation.

When I first talked about this same issue with my adoptive Ecuadorian family they told me that when people grow old and dependent there they are taken care of by family, friends, and neighbors. In North America they are warehoused in institutions where they can be more or less neglected until they die.

It is not difficult to notice the prevailing attitude of North Americans towards the elderly - they are ridiculed, portrayed as either cute, comical, or nasty, with not a lot of nuance. Ageing is nearly a taboo in US society. In most other cultures the aged are revered, respected, and cared for as long as they live. They do not lose their place in society just because they are not earning money from working. Not surprisingly, they age better in cultures where they are valued and cherished regardless of their perceived mercenary productivity.

There are many reasons to choose senior living and retirement in Ecuador and the knowledge that you are cared for by a network of familiar individuals as you age is a significant one. When I could not find assisted living facilities a few years ago in Ecuador my friends there told me they exist but they are not normal. Like day-care, they are institutions of modernity necessitated by economic forces and social drivers.

I realize my view expressed here is highly generalized but it is a perspective that I have often reflected on as to why I would never consider retiring in my birth country of the USA and what makes the quality of life so much higher in other cultures... even to the end of life.

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2/3/2021 16:27 EST


If I may add something to your astute observation ... and this comes from personal experience with my own Ecuadoran family and the experience from my years of living here.

It is not only the elders in the family unit that are respected and provided for when they are no longer able to do so for themselves but also individuals with special needs.

Families are loath to institutionalize those with physical, psychological, or intellectual incapacitations. These people are not warehoused like in other countries, but rather are cherished within the family circle and allowed the freedom to be themselves and to be able to contribute in whatever way they can to the family dynamic.

Also, the barrio, which is an integral part of the social fabric - as an extension of the family - is far more understanding, tolerant, and charitable ( in the true meaning of the word ) to those who are mentally or physically challenged.

Life here is much richer because of this.

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2/3/2021 19:10 EST

There is a new condo facility being built in Cotacachi that offers assisted living services. Also the Catholic church offers facilities in Quito although I can't remember the name

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2/5/2021 11:06 EST

I certainly did not intend to start a "right/wrong" culture discussion. Being from the US, I am OK being placed in a facility for my care if/when I am unable to care for myself.

I absolutely do not want to move in with one of my children.

Does anyone know of a resource in Ecuador that would have a listing of available long term care medical facilities?


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2/5/2021 13:04 EST

There is a whole vocabulary for this sort of thing up north.

You start out at an assisted living facility. When you cannot 'transport' yourself outside fast enough in case of a fire (or if you become excessively senile) you must move on to a nursing home. You can at least still take care of your finances, but you'd still need someone trustworthy as a backstop for when you did (inevitably) slip over the edge. I can see such a place doing well in Cuenca or Cotacachi.

A nursing home in the US will take care of you until you either die or your $ runs out (at ~10K/month). There will also be short-term residents there, usually rehabilitating from car wrecks, strokes or other physical impairments, but typically this will be the end of the line.

When properly informed about all this, and after thinking it through (assuming you can still think about it), that whole business about "anything being better than the alternative" really is rather pathetic. Beating the odds in these regards is quite the manifestation of American Exceptionalism.

LONG TERM ACUTE CARE (LTAC), may (?) be what you're referring to, and is often available in US hospitals to take care of what are essentially ongoing nursing needs, traditionally for a week or so beyond the ICU. I suspect these are now overrun by covid patients. You might pass some time there after surgery, but usually (pre-covid) they'll want to shunt you off to the nursing home.

I get the sense from reading here/elsewhere and visiting with local friends that the LTAC function exists here, but that families usually pick-up the slack ASAP, and nursing homes just don't exist per se. There used to be una Hogar de Viejos, down off that little El Vergel parque in Cuenca, but that seems to be more of an assisted living place, with half of their residents being senile: wander-aways that are more than families can take care of. It seems like it's underwritten by the city but I don't think in any case there would be the sort of regulatory and quality controls you see in the US (such as they are).

This is a young country, where chronic long-term illnesses and a determination to live forever have not been embraced to the extent that US culture and (in particular) it's medical business model has.

A nurse, or shift of nurses, can be brought into a private home far, far, far more reasonably here. The thing is that there has to be a family to administer your nurses, and the rest of the extended family will usually be pitching in anyway. (It's a mixed blessing: when one family gets covid, the whole family gets it).

This isn't such a pitch and forget culture, so to speak. Even in the US, the latino culture also seems to me to be far more oriented to taking care of the weak and decrepit, quite apart from the savings.

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