AARP International

Day in the Life

Alma Julieta Juarez  |  Mexico City  |  75 years old

Alma lives alone in Mexico City, enjoying retired life. Although the pandemic at times made her feel isolated, she makes a conscious effort to spend time with a close-knit network of family and friends.

Alma Julieta JuarezWhat is your typical day like?

My house is small with a garden which I greatly appreciate. In México City most people live in buildings with no gardens at all, so this is a luxury! I'm retired. Last year during the first two or three months of the pandemic, I hardly left my house and did not have visitors. I'm quite gregarious so it was a bit hard. Eventually, I started inviting one or two friends to come over. We sit outside in my small porch and are very pleased to see each other. We chat, listen to music, eat goodies, and drink Tequila. We take good care of each other.

Other days I stay here with my dog Cooper (12 years old), who is wonderful company. I'm so grateful to have him. I do a bit of house cleaning and cook a little for myself. Yoya, who has been working for my family for 62 years, comes once a week. It is a great joy receiving her and having her help me with laundry, house cleaning, and cooking (she is an extraordinary cook). I love her dearly and she is like a sister to me.

How do you stay physically active?

Every morning from Monday through Friday I walk for one hour (about 3.5 km) in a lovely garden just across from my house. It is delightful. Some of my friends go out too and we walk, chat, and laugh together. It's completely therapeutic for all of us.

How do you stay mentally and socially active?

During the weekends my daughter Lilly, son-in-law Javi, and Ana Paula, my first granddaughter, usually invite me over to their place. We sit in the garden and have a lovely time. I really appreciate and love those gatherings. It is so enjoyable being with family.

What do you find most challenging about growing older?

I'm 75 years old and life has not been too difficult, although it’s not as simple doing certain things now. I never want to be a burden on anybody. Being self-sufficient in every way is wonderful. I pray that I can continue this way for as long as God wills. Until then I'll continue being grateful, happy, and enjoying life.

What are your thoughts on aging in Mexico?

Aging in Mexico has its pros and cons. Here, families often care for older family members rather than sending them to nursing homes. Nursing homes are generally not as expensive as in other countries. My friends and I frequently talk about what will happen to us when we are not capable of tending for ourselves. We have agreed to try going to the same nursing home, where we can keep each other company. I have lost my private health insurance because, due to my age, it is very expensive. Now I worry about having a medical emergency because the public hospitals are overloaded. Of course, private hospitals are super expensive, so I hope I keep my excellent health and never have to worry about that.

Alma with family during a gathering at her daughter's home

Alma with family during a gathering at her daughter's home

Alma with women from her

Alma with women from her "history class” group, whom she had not seen since before the pandemic

Gathering for a Sunday paella lunch with family at her son Tony's house

Gathering for a Sunday paella lunch with family at her son Tony's house

Shopping in the marketplace

Shopping in the marketplace

Taking a ride on a trajinera, a small flat bottomed boat, to visit the Floating Gardens in Xochimilco, México City

Taking a ride on a trajinera, a small flat bottomed boat, to visit the Floating Gardens in Xochimilco, México City

Alma (left) with friend and housekeeper Gloria, who has been with the family for 60 years and has been like a second mother to her

Alma (left) with friend and housekeeper Gloria, who has been with the family for 60 years and has been like a second mother to her

“I'm 75 years old and life has not been too difficult, although it’s not as simple doing certain things now. I never want to be a burden on anybody. Being self-sufficient in every way is wonderful. I pray that I can continue this way for as long as God wills. Until then I'll continue being grateful, happy, and enjoying life.”

Spending time at friend Lulu's house

Spending time at friend Lulu's house

At the Copacabana, a restaurant in México City that serves delicious tacos

At the Copacabana, a restaurant in México City that serves delicious tacos

Getting ready for the Mexican Independence Day celebration

Getting ready for the Mexican Independence Day celebration

Shopping excursion with a friend in the marketplace

Shopping excursion with a friend in the marketplace

A photo from a trip with a friend to see the Teotihuacan pyramids

A photo from a trip with a friend to see the Teotihuacan pyramids

Lunch in the caves at Teotihuacan

Lunch in the caves at Teotihuacan

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