NEWSLETTER #3, May 2020
This is the third newsletter introducing the Casa Muriel Senior Living Center, proposed to be built near Antigua, Guatemala in 2020-21. If you missed previous newsletters look for them in your email inbox in March & April, or here on the website: GuatemalaRetirement.com.
A Communal Home in Antigua, Guatemala
The Casa Muriel Senior Center is a productive community home for active elders living in 20 long-term residences – studios, apartments and bungalows. We share classes, meals, music, exercise and activities because meaningful relationships and good humor cure loneliness, the primary cause of ageing.
The kitchen activity center is the heartbeat of the home. The versatile communal dining and meeting space could have a watercolor class, birthday brunch, baking session, bridge game, book discussion, or musical performance at any time of day.
Our Place in the Community
At Casa Muriel, we dispel the image of institutions and envision a viable and enriching community-based alternative for seniors. Throughout our Antigua ex-pat group, children have the AIS and Green Schools, business owners depend on our patronage for decades, and families expand and prosper. Yet, the older folks are out there on their own, maybe isolated and unsure, when a well-managed social and medical facility can get them back in the swing of things, the way they used to be.
Living alone does not always equate to being independent; it could just mean that you have to work harder to instigate personal interactions. Our goal is to normalize the entire lifespan with community-wide social events, instead of separating and alienating the older third to fit into pre-conceived attitudes of the last century.
1960’s Counterculture >> 2020’s Elder Culture
The idealism of young people coming of age in the 1960’s radically transformed the establishment status quo. They were passionate for human rights, peace, and equality, and essentially reinventing what it means to be a young adult.
These days, we are in the midst of an ageing revolution where older citizens are living about 30 years longer than their grandparents did, so they are transforming society all over again. The psychological shift of our generation is overturning the social order with a sense of purpose and reemerging with mature idealism, and reinventing what it means to become older.
“Third Age” Cultural Icons Shattering Expectations
If you need more proof, just look at the headlines. The “over 70” crowd is dominating the pop culture news…
• Bob Dylan who was been recording and performing since 1963, reached his first #1 billboard hit last month. Look for his new album release in June 2020 – Rough and Rowdy Ways.
• Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, 82 and 80 years old, wraps this season as the longest-running original TV series in Netflix’s history.
• The Rolling Stones, aged 76 to 83, just released a new single, Living in a Ghost Town.
• As a role model of style, talent and dignity, Dame Judi Dench, at age 85 graced the front page of British Vogue this month.
Investing in Casa Muriel
To build a successful cooperative home, community center and medical facility, we must work together. I am contributing over thirty years of experience in hospitality management, business technology and accounting skills. For twelve of those years, I was organizing and guiding successful companies here in Guatemala and working with brilliant and devoted nursing professionals.
You might know of the perfect property or investment partner. Do you have a personal experience to share that could positively impact the design concept? What sort of group would we trust to sponsor our project?
I’m spending my isolation time crunching numbers to balance budget projections, so I know we can do this profitably for investors and economically for the members and residents.
My bottom line: When every resident of Casa Muriel can say, “What a relief! I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
We must figure out how to get there.
The Casa Muriel Philosophy on Aging
In the Latin American culture, we call it the tercera edad, or third stage of life, from your sixties to nineties and beyond. It is the liberating post-adulthood period when age and experience are associated with enrichment and spiritual renewal. I like to think of it as the Third Act of your play, the part of the story where the catharsis unveils the depth of personality that you have had all along.
We are the protagonists of our own biographies, shedding baggage and insecurities and embracing the new reality with no nonsense and no regrets. In the turning point of Act III, conflicts are resolved, the cast of characters come together fully formed, and all the comedy, drama and irony unfold in ways we may have never expected. Voice your story with eloquence and ever-evolving clarity to be heard and appreciated. You are a star, so make your Act III worthy of a standing ovation.
NEWSLETTER #2, April 2020
This is the second newsletter introducing the business concept of Casa Muriel Senior Living Center, proposed for Antigua, Guatemala in 2020-21. If you missed it, look for the first newsletter in your inbox, March 23-26th. Or, just phone me for a personal response… 3315-1555. I designed a small website, which is in production now and should be published on-line later this week: GuatemalaRetirement.com.
Casa Muriel – Planning Stages
As of now, the plan is for a 20-unit home in the outskirts of Antigua: Studios, apartments and bungalows with a full-service dining area and a medical resource center for seniors. From majestic westerly views of the sunset and volcanos to the serene secret garden for meditation, nurturing the body and spirit will feature prominently in the plans of our architect, Molly Molander of Tierra Linda Architecture.
Who are Our Residents at Casa Muriel?
They are the Woodstock generation: the census boomers, the rock and rollers, technology innovators, activists, educators, champions, trend setters, lovers and world travelers. Our community attracts the thinkers, doers and givers who gave rise to the next impassioned generation, and then another after that. For a hundred different reasons, these travelers settled here, to their homes in Guatemala.
For our residents at Casa Muriel, the passion remains the same, but the focus has changed. (no, seriously… where are my reading glasses?)
Activities, Discussions and Classes
Social engagement and community interaction keep our brains active and rejuvenated, constantly processing new skills and ideas. Casa Muriel will have interesting activities scheduled every day for our residents and their friends and neighbors. Local celebrities will be invited to discuss their art and techniques at the Casa Muriel community center. Musicians, sailors, weavers, and archaeologists can offer expert-level knowledge and decades of experience to stimulate the conversation.
Health and Well-Being
Physical activity and a healthy diet of natural foods are the first steps maintaining flexibility and stamina. When you need extra attention, skilled nursing care and personal assistance is on-site 24/7, right down the hall from you in the nursing center. Through our affiliation with Guatemala Medical Travel, Casa Muriel offers VIP medical procedures with some of the best providers in Guatemala, in dozens of specialties.
Making Our Dreams a Reality
Investing in a high-demand industry with a substantially growing market is not only a smart financial move, but the right thing to do for our community. Casa Muriel offers attractive opportunities for large and small investors. Contact Lori Shea at Lori@GuatemalaRetirement.com for a summary of financial projections, property design proposal, or a complete business plan presentation for your group.
Thank you for your kind attention, interest, and support.
Lori… and Muriel
NEWSLETTER #1, March 2020
Coming Together in 2020
Today, on March 26th, the global pandemic is unfolding as a far-reaching social, financial, and public health calamity. Just like other unimaginable disasters in the past – market crashes, world wars, the attacks on 9/11 – We, the people, persevered and overcame those challenges by sharing our benefits and burdens for the good of all.
We can’t change The World, but we can make “Our World” a better place.
Assisted Living in Antigua
The need is obvious, for an assisted living, elderly care home or senior health resource center in or around Antigua. We have all seen friends and neighbors search for post-operative attention or specialized nursing care for a particular issue or various ailments. Sometimes isolation, vulnerability and chronic pain cause a different set of problems. Imagine if all the attention these patients needed were available in a comfortable cooperative home in Antigua. In addition, those residents would enjoy an enhanced quality of life without the stress of cooking, cleaning, paying bills, staying safe, and finding reliable transportation and medical care.
Casa Muriel, inspired by my mom Muriel Shea (b. 1926- ), is taking shape as an Antigua-based cooperative senior living center with daily personal assistance, medical attention, and all the comforts of living in a fully appointed home. Sharing services and expenses makes economic sense and participating in daily scheduled social events keeps us actively engaged in a vital community.
As they say, “It takes a village…”, and you are part of my village. To achieve a productive communal home and successful cooperative community, we need to work together. You are receiving this email message because I value your insights and perspective, maybe from experience with your own parents moving from the family home into a senior care facility, or maybe just being honest about the lifestyle you would like to have for yourself 2 or 5 or 10 years from now.
Background & Concept
From December 2018 to February 2020, I spent nearly every day, including a month of 24/7 day & night care, with my mother in Rhode Island at her independent, then assisted living, then rehabilitation centers. Mom’s spirit was always upbeat, and she developed cordial friendships, but then we had to make decisions about dementia and nursing care that would maintain her dignity and personal comfort.
From art classes and physical therapy to hospital admissions and advance directives, I was there by her side, listening, discussing, reading and learning everything possible about the ways we could enhance her quality of life, from the no-nonsense senior care professionals. I think we can duplicate that high-quality low-stress senior lifestyle that my mother enjoyed, here in Antigua Guatemala, but with volcano views and tropical gardens.
We Have Medical Providers & Management Professionals
Since Guatemala Medical Travel started in 2009, I have been successfully inviting North Americans and Europeans to come to Guatemala to schedule high-end medical and dental procedures with our amazingly talented surgeons and dentists. As the general manager, I’ve also guided the G.M.T. business model to meet all sorts of unanticipated goals in emergency and primary care for our clients.
- Registered nurses, GMT associates over the last 10 years, are ready and able to address the specific needs of the older ex-pat population.
- My professional background is in hospitality management and accounting, opening dozens of high-end hotels and restaurants in Miami & Key West since the mid-80’s.
- Casa Muriel residents might be retired, but they still have a lot of value to contribute to the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of their neighbors.
Let’s put those skills and contacts to good use, benefiting the health needs of our friends right here at home in Guatemala, and the ex-pats who will choose to live here in coming years.
What We Need: Investors and a Location
Talk to your friends about investing in a hotel property to create a senior center for the protection and comfort of our community of elders. It’s the compassionate and civilized thing to do. Call me for a personal business plan presentation.
The Next Steps
I’m sharing my thoughts and plans in this email newsletter with about 140 ex-pat friends in Antigua, Lago de Atitlan and Rio Dulce, as well as professional nurses and real estate agents who have valuable tips to offer about effective planning methods and property options.
To include your ideas and impressions in the next newsletter, please respond here to my personal email: LoriShea@live.com or my mobile: 3315-1555. For serious investors, ask for the complete 20-page business plan with an operations outlines, pro forma budget, and departmental cost analyses.
We can do this, as a cooperative project with the goal of offering the best possible care to our friends in next stage of life.
All the best, and warm regards,
Lori… and Muriel