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Choosing a Place to Live in Mexico for Your Health Needs

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Plaza Quiroga in Pátzcuaro, Mexico
Credit: Keith Paulson-Thorp

If you are considering a move to our beautiful country, choosing a place to live in Mexico for your health needs should be of interest to you. There are a number of health-related factors that you should consider when weighing your decision about where to live.

Here is a list of the most important health-related factors to consider:

  • Availability of Hospitals—Not every location popular with expats has a full-service hospital. Consider where the nearest hospital is. If the hospital is public (IMSS or Seguro Popular), you will need to participate in that program to be admitted, except on an emergency basis.

 

  • Doctors & Specialists —This is especially important if you are being treated by a specialist for a chronic health condition. Medical specialist in Mexico will not be found in every community where expats congregate. It is a good idea to form a relationship with a specialist you are comfortable with before making a long-term commitment to a location in Mexico.

 

  • Seasonal Temperature and Humidity — The Winter weather at the beach may be ideal, but high summer temperatures could be a different story and air-conditioning may be essential. Some high-altitude cities and towns have warm, sunny days, but the nights are cold and there is no central heating. This may have health implications for you. Know yourself and do your research before deciding where to live. Our Expats In Mexico website has detailed climate profiles for each of the 10 most popular expat cities. Just click on Cities and then Climate. Wikipedia also offers annual temperature and humidity information for many of the larger cities in Mexico.

 

  • Altitude and Air Pollution— These could be important if you have asthma, emphysema or other breathing difficulties. While many people have minor symptoms adjusting to higher altitudes, such as headache, other have significant problems and rarely adjust to the lower levels of oxygen associated with the high altitude and air pollution in Mexico City, for example.

 

  • Availability of Necessary Pharmaceuticals—There are different classes of pharmacies and not all may have the medicine you need. If you must have a specific medicine that cannot be changed, you’ll want to know if it is available locally before moving. There are a variety of ways to find your medicines in Mexico, but if it is essential for your well being, find a source before moving permanently.

 

  • Social Isolation— Not having friends and family nearby can adversely affect your mental and physical health. There are ways to compensate in Mexico, but it doesn’t happen magically. Are there other expats nearby? Learning Spanish can help integrate you into the local community.

 

  • Emergency Response— Is there an ambulance service and a local emergency room? How far is it to emergency help and how long does it take to get there?

 

  • Mobility— If you are in a wheelchair or have difficulty walking, you will need to discover the local situation before deciding where to move. Mexico’s streets are often irregular, lacking in curb cuts, lacking sidewalks, frequently cobblestone, etc. While Mexicans are very considerate and helpful, especially to the elderly, please consider that you may not always be able to climb steep grades or dodge traffic.

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