The residents of Ajijic’s eight-year-old Abbeyfield Independent Living Facility celebrated the giving season by hosting a December 16 dinner and party to honor live-in employee Victor Ochoa Gomez, who graduated from nursing school at the top of his class.
When Ochoa decided that he wanted to better himself and his position providing meals, exercise, companionship and other basic needs of Abbeyfield residents, he started searching for a Guadalajara school where he could train to become a geriatric nurse.
With the encouragement of Ginger, an Abbeyfield resident, Ochoa found a school and started the 700-hour curriculum, while working full time at the facility. Noting his drive, determination and devotion to the residents, Abbeyfield arranged to pay for half of the nursing school expenses and further agreed that if he graduated with above average grades, they would also pay the remaining half of the costs.
The funds to make the gift of education possible came from the original gift of Abbeyfield’s initial promoter and supporter – the late Lissa Taylor. When Taylor saw that area elderly residents were living alone without a sense of family she began searching for a plan that would allow them to live in the company of others while having private space.
A group of community volunteers modeled the Ajijic facility after Abbeyfield, an English non-profit organization. The residents in Abbeyfield pay monthly rent that covers most of their living expenses, as they live with a sense of family and community at the beautiful property across from the Ajijic Malecon.