by Susan Renna
Set up on the mountainside on the north shore of Lake Chapala, a couple kilometers from Ajijic towards San Juan Cosala, La Valentina is the very latest in assisted living. It presents a stunning view of the lake and the mountains that are right behind the new facility.
Martha Benavides is the special lady that has envisioned this space to honor our elders. As she says when asked why, “I would like a place like this to bring my parents to and to live when I want assisted living. Where there is a nurse and doctor on call, and the price is affordable…”
La Valentina, Ajijic, Lake Chapala has six studio apartments with:
- Living room
- Kitchenette with a little refrigerator (for those midnight snacks) and a small dining space,
- Very large closet
- Well-lit bathroom
- King size or double bed
- Tasteful Mexican decor
- Full of natural sunlight
- There is a terrace for community living, a massage and exercise room, and a large Jacuzzi.
After breakfast in the morning, everyone stretches and exercises (therapeutic) for a half hour facing the beautiful Lake Chapala and right after that, there are different activities depending on the day of the week and all, mind you, are optional. You can garden, have a Spa Day with massage and hair cut, manicure or pedicure, cook together with the friends who live there with you. On another day you can take a Spanish class and even another is for handcrafts that can be sold as well, why not?. Mondays are reserved for outings whether it be a park, a museum, the Lake Chapala Society or a visit to Guadalajara shopping for personal needs, the mall, etc., and Sundays are reserved for your religious activities.
Then lunch, yeah! All three meals are included at Assisted Living Lake Chapala’s La Valentina and are looked after very carefully as far as their nutritional value and, of course, their taste! Meals are catered so no one has to eat what they don’t like, unless… it’s the doctor’s orders. The vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products etc.,… are organic and locally grown in the Lake Chapala area as much as possible which is a plus in this fast-food society of ours.
Thankfully, after lunch is Siesta Time!!!!! And just like everyone knows, in Mexico, it’s a two-hour Siesta (although I must add that the two-hour siesta is what comes to mind from the Western Movies of way back when. Most Mexicans don’t take siestas at all now-a-days, especially in the cities). Having said that, imagine siesta at Lake Chapala, falling asleep to the wind and nearby creek or your favorite Willie Nelson song…
In the afternoons there is Music Appreciation, Dance Lessons (although I bet many of our elders have good dance moves to teach us Little Ones…), Dog Therapy for those who love animals, Bridge and Poker, Movies, Painting and, on Sunday, it’s open to all visitors. Martha has mentioned that any visitor can come almost anytime, however, and does not have to wait until Sunday to be with their loved one.
From 6 to 6:30 there is a special quiet time to watch the sun set. This is a particular moment of reverence. Every sunset over Lake Chapala is extraordinarily special, either subdued or spectacular, so each day is different and, well, special.
And, at long last, dinner… and by eight, the night is your own.
So, for all of you thinking “Where is there a place where my Mom can be taken care of, where she has her own spacious room, where she is catered to, where she has a view of a lake, where she can garden exotic flowers and play bridge, where she can eat healthy, where her mind will be busy, where there is a nurse and doctor on call, where she is so happy she might even get off some of her meds….. Think about Lake Chapala, think about La Valentina, think about Ajijic, Mexico…
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