In an exclusive interview last week,AARP VIVA Vice President and Editor Gabriela Zabulúa-Goddard spoke with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico about important issues for retirees who are looking for the perfect place to spend their retirement.
When asked what accomplishment he is most proud of during his term,Calderón said that Mexico has made great progress in the health sector. “We are about to achieve universal health coverage,which means there will be doctors,medicines,and treatments for each and every Mexican who needs them. I’m also proud of infrastructure transformation.” This administration has built more roads than any in history.
Zabalúa-Goddard then asked the President how the Administration plans to care for its large aging population. Calderón said they are working on several initiatives,and pointed out that Mexico’s median age is just 27 years old. "The demographic bonus is a powerful asset," he states. “The workforce will be larger than the dependent population until approximately 2030.” According to Calderón,the government's focus is on modifying health habits of the population that could potentially lead to costly health care later in life,such as obesity prevention programs. He says that an influx of aging people from other countries will never be a burden on Mexico,rather,he considers their interest,“a blessing for Mexico,” and cites the young,warm,generous,and caring people of Mexico who will help provide home care services for elderly persons.
In order to help the elderly achieve financial stability,Mexico has implemented many programs to reduce poverty long-term. For example,their program “Oportunidades” is an assistance program that gives financial aid to mothers on the condition that their children attend school and are taken to the doctor. “This is the way to eradicate structural poverty,” the President says. They also have an assistance program for people 70 years of age and older.
President Calderón’s administration has been called a “government that is sowing… seeds that will grow for many generations.” Last year,Mexico's economy grew 5.3 percent,and 800,000 formal jobs were created,but the big pay-off could still be coming many years down the road.
Vice President Zabalúa-Goddard also asked the President what he would tell tourists,or those who want to move or retire in Mexico in order to reassure them about security concerns. “They shouldn’t worry,” he says. He mentioned Mexico has very friendly retirement communities,such as San Miguel de Allende,Chapala,Morelia,and Vallarta,to name only a few. “I can assure them that Mexico is a peaceful,safe,and pleasant country… So come with peace of mind and feel safe.”