Julie Hughes

In 2011 my husband was diagnosed with dementia.  In 2012 his neurologist told us we needed to make future plans for long term.  I looked into resources near where we lived in Oregon and we determined it was necessary to search the world for a place with “good” weather where we could live comfortably and affordable long-term care would be available if and when it might be needed.  I spent a year talking to people, reading and searching the Internet.  We eliminated many wonderful places we had traveled and the Lake Chapala area looked like the best possible solution.

In the process I had discovered that the “Focus on Mexico” website had an article on long-term care.  I emailed the author and he was very informative and helpful. Then I emailed “Focus..” and told them there was no way my husband would come down for their tour and I couldn’t leave him at home alone so I asked if it was possible for them to connect us with someone who could give us a tour of the area.  Thomas Hellyer was recommended.  Thomas agreed to take us out for a tour the day after our arrival.  I sort of wondered how this would turn out and was pleased to meet Thomas and be taken on a grand tour of the area.

We found Thomas to be informative, resourceful, honest, patient, perceptive to clients needs, and never ever pushing for a sale.  He was our guide.  We sold what was to become our home to ourselves!  It would have been fine with him if we hadn’t bought a house.

This trip was planned as an exploratory adventure, merely checking out the Lake Chapala area, but the more we learned the more convinced we became that this was the answer to our needs and that this would be a wonderful place to live.  We were here for 3 weeks.  Thomas was sensitive to my husband’s needs…limited energy and limited walking ability so he took us on short trips almost daily.  He showed us a wide range of homes in a wide range of settings for this was an educational experience for us.  We had to learn not only what was available but what our real needs were.  Also Thomas talked about how different the whole process – buying, selling and owning  a home in Mexico is from the US.  He pointed out businesses and talked about the people, food, markets, a little history, his family, legal matters, banking, paying bills, taxes, painters, utilities, gardeners, maids, …..

We looked at the house we eventually bought on our first day of touring with Thomas but, at the time, didn’t quite know what we wanted or needed.  Actually we didn’t even know we’d be selling our home in Oregon, disposing of most of our worldly goods,  and driving down to live here in Ajijic.  Life is an adventure!

Julie Hughes