Monday, June 17, 2024

Is senior health care an untapped opportunity in Mexico?

At Mexico News Daily, we highlight key growth industries and report on the major investments taking place in Mexico.

Just earlier this week, we reported on how Mexico has received announcements of foreign direct investment (FDI) from January to April 15 of this year totaling more than all FDI recorded in 2023, which was a record year.

We get a lot of questions from readers asking us about the big opportunities for investment in Mexico moving forward, and we try to highlight some of those as well.

Water scarcity is a huge issue across the nation and we have been covering the risks as well as opportunities, and what some companies are doing to help address the problems. We have also covered the automotive, digital services, medical device production, semiconductors and aeronautics industries, which are attracting significant investment.

Other big opportunities that we have written about are in infrastructure, commercial, residential and industrial real estate, as well as in agricultural production. Just recently the CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, Pedro Casas, highlighted 4 key growth industries in an article he wrote for Mexico News Daily.

A significant opportunity that I think is still in its infancy is the senior health care services industry.

Many people have asked me for my thoughts on this topic, specifically regarding the areas of senior living and care, as well as medical tourism. I don’t have expertise in these industries, and so far, our coverage has been limited to a recent article we did on Mexico’s first hospice care clinic, which is opening soon in San Miguel de Allende.

However, it is an intriguing topic for many reasons. Today there are at least 1.6 million U.S. citizens and over 12,000 Canadians already living in Mexico — many of them are retirees. Many more are coming every day. Many have been in Mexico for years and have no plans to go back to live elsewhere. As we all know, providing safe and affordable health care services is already a major concern in many parts of the U.S. and Canada.

Rapidly rising costs — from the products and services themselves, to the real estate, to labor — have all contributed to the skyrocketing total costs of care. To make matters worse, since the pandemic, many hospitals have been struggling with labor shortages that make it difficult in many areas to provide the care needed.

Surprisingly, there are very limited options for senior living and senior care in Mexico focused on the foreign market. I have heard of assisted living facilities focused on serving seniors in places like San Miguel de Allende, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Chapala/Ajiiic.  However, these types of specialized services being done in Mexico have their own challenges — language barriers, staff training, on-site specialized medical care, and healthcare insurance — just to name a few.

Mexico seems like a very logical answer to many of these problems considering that the country has a relatively young and well-trained workforce. In addition, the costs of everything from labor to real estate are often significantly lower. The ability to have 24-hour care in most parts of Mexico is far more economically viable. Mexicans culturally are accustomed to very close extended and multi-generational families. As a result, it is a culture that is known for a high degree of respect, warmth, care and empathy towards elders.

Most people I speak with who have had experiences with Mexican doctors, nurses, and health care providers overwhelmingly have nothing but positive things to say about the quality of care that they have received.

Health care is arguably one of the most complicated industries on the planet, so I am not saying that this opportunity would be easy. As with any business idea, it comes with significant risks and challenges. Building and managing adequate facilities with the properly trained staff in Mexico would not be inexpensive or risk-free. But the opportunity is too big to not gain more attention from the business and investment community.

Based on what I hear from talking to expats around the country, this is a large and growing market that is here to stay; there is a significant market need; and supply is extremely limited.

Let’s hope that some bright entrepreneurs and business folks go after it, as demand for these services increases.

Travis Bembenek is the CEO of Mexico News Daily and has been living, working or playing in Mexico for over 27 years.

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