By Ivo Henfling
Fantastic ideas and lots of dreams, they might all come true one day.
A very dear client, who years ago had planned an assisted living facility in Costa Rica, sent me a link that gave the recently released Cost of Care survey from Genworth Financial looked at the average prices of home care providers, adult day health care facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes across the USA, and unsurprisingly, found that there are staggering variations between states but all very expensive to Costa Rican standards.
Years ago, my client bought with his wife and several partners, a beautiful 300+ acre farm in the middle of nowhere from their preferred GoDutch Realty agent, with the fantastic idea of starting an assisted living facility on this land. Costa Rican governmental permitting and other circumstances slowed down their project and even before they got to completing it, their panorama changed completely.
Today, they still have some of that beautiful land left, with incredible views of the Río Grande and the land surrounding Atenas. Suddenly, they are 10 minutes away from the new highway to Caldera and their project, though on a much smaller scale than originally planned, might still be possible, if we would just find the one investor who has the money to realize the project.
The reason I am saying this is because I was looking at the cost of nursing homes in the U.S. in the article he was sending me. The average cost of care among facility-based providers in the U.S. has been increasing steadily. In 2005, the median annual rate for a private nursing home was $60,225; by 2011, it had risen to $77,745. This is almost $6,500/month which in Costa Rica is a lot of money. I am not a financial whiz, but I can tell you right now that with such a facility in Costa Rica, the numbers would look quite a bit different.
In Costa Rica, we don’t have the specializations in healthcare that they have in the U.S., but I am sure prices will look a lot different than this: The U.S. national median hourly rate for licensed homemaker services was $18 an hour; licensed home health aide services, $19 an hour; adult day health care, $60 a day; assisted living facility (one-bedroom/single occupancy) $3,261 a month; nursing home (semi-private), $193 a day and $213 a day for a private nursing home room.
In Costa Rica, a regular nurse’s minimum wage is $831/month and a specialized nurse is $997/month plus about 30% of social security and other costs.
The Hampton Inn at the airport has a Romance Package for $107/night that includes a 750 ml. bottle of wine and a single flower with vase and chocolates. You could stay a whole month without negotiating the price, for $3,210.
The Costa Verde Inn in Escazu, is another option where they will give you a very nice one bedroom apartment for $75/night plus tax which adds up to $2,610/month. You are 10 minutes away from the CIMA hospital and the same time from most wining and dining. Though the cost of living in Costa Rica has definityly gone up in the last few years, its still very affordable depending a lot on your lifestyle and the environment you're looking to live in. You couldn’t spend the difference on food and clothing even if you’d wanted to.
For insurance, we have the Caja Seguro Social (CCSS) and the INS for private insurance if you don’t have medical insurance that will cover you in Costa Rica.
There is plenty of money to be made in an assisted living facility if you could just find the investors to start something like this, especially if you have the most beautiful location, great weather most of the time and cheap labor. Another client has a complete plan for training the locals who live in Atenas to take over many of the easy labor from the nurses. You can train all those single mothers and those who will not be hired by the multinationals because they are over 40 years old and they would go crazy from happiness because they can get a part time job and receive a nice income for Costarican standards. Yes Dr. Benn, your ideas were noted and I am sure your great ideas will someday be dusted and put to use. Maybe this can be your retirement past time.
I hope this blog will put the idea out there that an assisted living facility is a very good idea to start in Costa Rica, especially if you already have the land and that Costa Rica fractional ownership now is becoming another option of realizing a project like this. And GoDutch Realty in Atenas will help you market this facility with lots of love, knowledge and marketing effort.
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Written by Ivo Henfling who is trying to get an assisted living facility in place in Costa Rica so he doesn’t have to worry about getting old. When you are thinking to retire in Costa Rica, let me know. Meanwhile, if you are going to rent a home or buy a home in Costa Rica, let me know.