10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Should You Bring Your (Elderly) Parents with You to Cuenca?

Below is a short letter sent to us by one of our readers that we would like to share with you. (The purple font are links that will take you to that blog post or article.)
Dear Frank and Angie: I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to put this DIY book together. This has been the most useful guide I have come across. I also like the spirit you have brought to living in Cuenca, and I hope I can follow in your footsteps in avoiding the ghetto. I always think the folks who resist joining the local culture were probably the most vocal complainers about Hispanic immigrants coming to the US not learning English etc.

I had been planning on shipping a bunch of stuff down to Ecuador, but after reading your blog post on giving up your possessions,
I don't think shipping is the right way to go. So that's going to be a radical change of plan. I actually feel quite liberated at the thought of not having to deal with all that hassle.
And here’s the Good Part of his letter…
My reason for moving to Ecuador is so that I can take care of my Mom (90 yrs old). She lives in England and I'm in the US, so for a bunch of reasons Ecuador has turned out to be a good compromise. My Mom is enthusiastic, which impresses me no end. I can only hope I'm half as adventurous if I get to be that age.
Yes, we agree your mom sure does have an adventurous spirit, and that’s great and could easily be one of the reasons she has reached the age she has. We find it commendable on your part that you are putting your mother’s well being above your own; we are not advocates of nursing home care centers; we have actually seen them and have heard horror stories that would make your skin crawl.
The good news is, here in Ecuador most families take care of their elderly parents—there are VERY few nursing homes here at this time. Ecuador is a family oriented culture, and it doesn’t stop when the children get married and leave home, if they leave home. Here they have big houses and it is not uncommon to have three generations living in one big tri-level home. The elderly are very much respected here by the younger people, and we believe your mother’s adventure here will be one she will truly love and enjoy; her spirit will shine upon the locals as well.
It can be disheartening trying to tell your elderly parents that you’re going to retire/relocate to a South American city they probably never even heard of before. To most folks, when they hear South America, they think of another planet far, far away.
If their health permits the traveling aspect of the move, and if they are willing to relocate, we think it is a great idea to bring your elderly parents to Cuenca with you because they’ll be with you, if for no other reason.
Ecuador’s health care system is excellent. Many of the doctors speak English because they studied for their doctorate in North America or Europe (UK). The hospitals and clinics are sparkling clean and beautiful with great services, we’ve been told by several expats that have had the unfortunate occasion to visit the Mount Sanai Hospital here in Cuenca that everything was superb.
The dental office our family goes to is great! We will not go anywhere else. The service is good, the staff is wonderful and the service is great, plus the dental work is affordable! We have recommended this dentist to our friends who now also use the same dentist. I recently had 2 teeth pulled and two fillings and it cost under $60! Medications are also affordable here. We have a whole chapter devoted to dentists in the DIY Cuenca Landing guide with photos and prices of procedures. (Sorry, we can’t give everything away! LOL)
Citizens of Ecuador have free to low cost health care, just like they do in some of Europe and Canada.
On another note, unfortunately, Ecuador is not geared to having very good conditions for those in wheel chairs or having other physical impediments that makes walking difficult. Although there are a few people, young and old in wheel chairs here, they do have a difficult time getting around on the sidewalks, crosswalks, and into establishments.
However on a positive note, just the other day we witnessed a fellow in a wheel chair that was being pushed by maybe a relative over a very large sidewalk. So, the family comes to the rescue again. Bravo.
Another example that all is not lost just because institutional, centralized systems have not taken over to assist people.
This is why we caution people that are used to being reliant on institutions. Ecuadorian culture may appear to be lacking, but in reality, it is very rich. So go ahead, bring your mom, (or mom and dad) you'll fit right in...
To end this post we leave you with a great article that we have posted before on this blog about the health care system here in Cuenca. After reading this article you might decide to bring your parents with you too, or they may just want to move to Ecuador on their own! 
You’ll too be amazed and happy to know that many procedures are actually affordable, and the service and care is great! And this is why we think that you might think it a good idea to bring your elderly parents with you to Ecuador so you can give them better care at a more affordable price.
Anyone who has been following our blog for while knows, we are advocates for eating healthy, exercising, and keeping stress levels down to a bare minimum (another reason why we moved to Cuenca LOL). So if that is your motto too, then we know that the clean healthy food, clean air (away from el centro) and the less stressful lifestyle, and this family based culture will be good for both you and your parents. So come on down and be the next expats that relocate to beautiful Cuenca!!


  1. For the last 6 months I've been researching Ecuador, and planning an exploration trip for a couple months in the fall. However, one of your earlier posts said that was not a good idea for single women or the elderly. I am both, but in very good health and have lived in both the inner city of Milwaukee and several tiny rural towns, so I'm used to both poverty and crime. I'm also used to concrete house that don't get above 55 F in the winter.I'm only paying $300/mo. for rent right now, so low prices are not so important to me as the availability of public transportation, which is non-existent in American rural areas. My only daughter, who has no children, supports me in the move, and will be able to come and visit.

    With all that in mind, do you think
    I should abandon my plans to emigrate and get a pensionada visa?

  2. to DYEBAT: thanks for commenting. Well, you're one of the rare birds that sounds as if you have the prior knowledge and experience to carry some nunchucks. (just kidding) Actually we think -- avoiding trouble-- is the best route to go. As part of "that" plan however, couldn't you have your daughter come with you?


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