When considering living abroad, many expats make the serious mistake of considering disability, advancing age and death of a partner. These are issues that many realize too late in their new life in the sun, which can turn into a living nightmare.

Cultural differences tops the list.

In most Latin countries, it is the cultural norm for the old and sick to be cared by their own family members, unlike in the United States and Canada, where many of the elderly spend the latter stages of their lives in residential care or nursing home.

This results in few residential homes and sudden illness may mean that it is too late to return to the U.S. or Canada.

In Costa Rica, an option, for exparts with legal residence, is the Hospital Nacional de Geriatría y Gerontología Raúl Blanco Cervantes, the elderly hospital operated by Caja, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).

However, a public facility may not be suitable for a foreigner because of language and cultural problems.

Private elderly care facilities are now appearing in Costa Rica with the primary market being immigrants and expats.  There facilities are designed on US models and are considerably less expensive than US equivalents.

Those unable to afford such care can hire live in domestic help often for a fraction of the cost of comparable care in the US or Canada.