Anyone moved their ageing parents o/s to live with/near them?

(22 Posts)
frosch Mon 08-Apr-13 12:14:15

I'm only a hours' flight from the UK Claudia, not too far away at all. Still, the guilt is a major factor in decisions and it shouldn't be. When I was young, I can remember my parents having a huge argument when they decided to moved 250 miles from aunt, uncle, cousins and both sets of grandparents. I was banished to another room but heard every single word, all said in anger and I've never been able to shake the guilt I felt as an eight-year old. I wondered whether being the eldest female of the family had an influence on my belief that it was my responsibility to care for my parents but that has been blown out of the water by friends in similar situations, youngest sons, middle daughters, etc, all feel the same 'obligation', underpinned by love.

To answer your question, they're fine. We wrote off their debt, as we felt that we were in a better position to absorb it than they were and then they went and bought a buy-to-let in the next village. hmm

I've worked in Melbourne and, years ago, actually spoke to my parents about living in Australia and whether they'd fancy it too. The spider factor resulted in a resounding 'NO' so maybe I will after all grin.

ClaudiaSchiffer Sat 06-Apr-13 22:26:47

Frosch THE GUILT!!! It's so much about the guilt. And love of course. I really love my folks and totally have that daughter responsibility thing of wanting to look after them. I'm trying not to become cross with my brothers (and my sils) for being so useless, as that is surely the road to unhappiness - and also my brothers can quite legitimately berate me for moving so far away.

Both my grandparents moved to be close to their children (my mum and dad) in later years which worked out brilliantly. BUT it was just 100 miles up the road not the other side of the road.

Our of interest Frosch where are you? No worries if you don't want to say. How are your parents now?

frosch Sat 06-Apr-13 12:31:04

Claudia, I couldn't freak out too much; I was pregnant with DD and had anti-e and she was threatening to turn Bart Simpson yellow with jaundice, so I concentrated on her, rather than them.

Their reason for changing their mind was that the collapse in the house market and the sterling/euro exchange rate would have had an impact on their retirement. It's perfectly acceptable reason, had they intended to live in Spain or Greece but not an issue where we are. DH and I both agreed that we would have much preferred to have subsidised their life over here, rather than end up with the debts and bills we did when they changed their minds, IYSWIM. Ultimately, we would have been in a position to take care of them in their later years; they would have their independence (a house of their own) but the convenience of having family nearby, excellent medical care and facilities and a gentler pace of life.

Like you, several friends of mine and me have elderly parents back in the UK, with siblings who couldn't be more disinterested in keeping an eye out for them. I think my wanting to take care of them and bring them over here partially stemmed from the guilt of 'abandoning' them when I moved abroad. Buying a house was an act of massive over-compensation! Apologies for not being more constructive; for what it's worth, it's a lovely idea and I hope it works out for you and your folks.

ClaudiaSchiffer Sat 06-Apr-13 09:23:44

Thank you all so much for your interesting tales.

frosch I am SHOCKED by your story, that's terrible! I'm not surprised you're livid with your parents. How on earth did you react when they finally told you they weren't moving over????

maybeiwillmaybeiwont - that seems to be the case from me preliminary research on the gvmt visa website. No visas for parents with the majority of their children living in their home country. It totally makes sense of course but a bit bloody annoying when my bruvs are all jolly nice etc but effectively useless. I've emailed the visa agency so will see if there is any way round it. I have heard (can't remember where from) about the $500,000 needed - I thought you needed to use it to buy gvmt bonds but not sure when/if you can cash them in.

fussychia - that's exactly what I'd like to be able to dofor my parents. How wonderful that you had the opportunity and for him to have some happy last years with you and your family. I'm so sorry that it wasn't for longer.

fussychica England Fri 05-Apr-13 14:32:32

When my mum died my dad moved out to Spain to live with us - he was 80 at the time and we thought he would live for years as he was (seemed) very fit. It gave me peace of mind that I was never going to have to dash over to care for him if something went wrong. I'm an only child so this was even more important.

We bought a large but ruinous property and renovated it so he had his own apartment for independence and privacy. It worked brilliantly and he adored living there but sadly he passed away very suddenly after 4 years. We have since returned to the UK.

It was great while it lasted - he was covered for health insurance as a retiree and we had no issues with the care in Spain which was always excellent.
I can't say how much it meant to have him living abroad with us (I still miss him like crazy).

Not sure if this is now the case, but my friend and her husband wanted to go and live in Australia to join her daughter and family (now Aussie citizens) and she was told that she wouldn't get a 'family' visa as she had one child in Australia but two others lived in the UK. So she would only be able to go there if they deposited a very large amount of money (?500,000) in a bank, which I 'think' was non refundable? They were past retirement age at the time of asking.

frosch Fri 05-Apr-13 13:06:16

The flip-side here; my parents said they'd like to live nearby. A new group of houses were being built locally, so we sent details, prices, etc and back came the answer that they'd like to buy one.

We asked again and again if they were certain. There were public access issues with the garden and my DH said that personally, he wouldn't touch it with a barge-pole and still they said that they wanted to proceed. In the meantime, they put their UK house on the market.

We oversaw the building project and the legalities, of which there were many. The payments were due on the first two (of seven) stages and were paid by my parents. Then, as their house didn't sell, the remaining stages needed to be paid by us. We asked again if they still wanted to continue, as it would require major financial restructuring on our part (remortgaging our house, pension payment readjustments, using all of our savings, etc). Yes, came the reply. OK, we said and paid the remainder of the stages, taxes and legal bills.

Then they changed their minds. angry

As they were in the UK, it was up to us to sell the house but not before we had to pay for the build to be completed, utilities connected, etc, etc. Then pay to sell it, power of attorney, taxes, more bills and financial crap.

Four years later, I am still angry but my DH, who is of this neck of the woods, was remarkably laid back about the whole thing and it only makes me love him even more. The moral of story; make absolutely sure that they really want to move and that you have a huge shovel to tidy up the mess when they don't . Grrr.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 03-Apr-13 13:21:54

hi reluctant Yes, social services have been involved (via Age Concern who are AMAZING! and will advocate on their behalf) and like yours, I managed to get my mother after-30-years hmm to finally apply for DLA. It does seem though that these people prefer to dish out cash and for the OAPs to make arrangements themselves. You know, like that bullshit "carer" thing where the carer won't actually do anything unless specifically asked. <sigh> So in reality it's preferable that I move closer to them and take on the responsibilities which I rightly ought.

reluctantmover Wed 03-Apr-13 13:03:11

Dolomites? Did you check out what Social Services can provide for your parents? The ones where my parent live were very good, with their help we eventually persuaded mother to claim the higher rate DLA she'd be entitled to for years, helped her with arranging a cleaner paid for with the DLA, arranged for respite in a public care home between hospital and home, the biggest obstacle was mother herself who refused and refused, we even tried to have her sectioned as she was coming out with stuff you'd expect someone on drugs to say (she was on drugs and the psychiatrist put it down to this) as a last resort so Social Services could act without her consent. The whole process took 2 years, a nervous breakdown by a family member trying to sort this out from 200 miles away (I am even further away), finally in part owned housing association flat with an off-site warden and out of 3 bed house where the kitchen roof was actually falling in whilst moving out (poor buggers who bought house). Old people can be incredibly stubborn, they are their worst enemies. She is now no longer a burden on relatives, now she is in appropriate housing and has a cleaner etc etc, I think we've succeeded in adding another 10 years to her life.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 03-Apr-13 07:24:19

Lavender is there the same visa rule that they can come for 3 months a year? Do they stay with you all the time? My dh would go insane if my folks lived with us. Mind you, as much as I love them I think I would too.

Dolomites why are our siblings so utterly useless? My brothers, who are actually nice people, just don't think about what my folks need at all. It makes me pretty cross actually.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 03-Apr-13 06:37:50

We're in the process of going back to the UK as my parents are finding life increasingly difficult. Why am I having to arrange cleaners/valet/mobile pedicure when my sister lives an hour away?confused Oh I know, I know.

Needless to say I'm only in the Netherlands, but even if I just throw my handbag and children in the car this minute it's 12 hours if I don't have to wait for a ferry.

SavoyCabbage Wed 03-Apr-13 05:57:24

Someone I know has just failed her medical for residency.

My mum always signs up for Medicare when she comes to see us but she's never had to use it. I was watching the Biggest Loser last night and one of the men was talking about how he had to have three jobs as his dd had Spina Bifida and he of course had to pay for countless operations.

Hi. I'm in NZ and all my family are the UK. My parents are a bit younger han ours but I can see us facing this prolem in the future. My siblings are a bit more helpful than yours and we have briefly discussed what will hppen when they get elderly.

As I understand it my parents can't emigrate without a substantial amount in the bank (I believe it might be $1 million) unless we subsidise them. So the current plan is as long as they are well enough to do the flights they will spend the UK winter in NZ with us and then go back or the UK summer.

I have not really looked into the logistics of them moving here permenantly but I dont think its easy, mainly due to health cover.

Tortoiseontheeggshell Wed 03-Apr-13 05:44:35

<coughs> Exactly right. Fabulous investment opportunity. Safe tenant. Etc.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 03-Apr-13 05:40:48

Thanks Tortoise. Good luck with it all, I presume you're selling it all as a "fabulous investment opportunity" to your dh? grin

MrsTP, yeah, the healthcare thing is a worry. However, I've just looked at the visa rules here and it looks like healthcare would be covered by Medicare. But it also looks like they wouldn't be eligible for a visa as the majority of their (useless) children live in the UK.

Tortoiseontheeggshell Wed 03-Apr-13 05:30:40

(That is, I will buy it, she will pay me a rent that will in no way cover the mortgage, but will be something towards it, if that wasn't clear above. And now I will stop hijacking in case a proper expat has helpful advice for you)

I would check that healthcare was covered. It's all very well moving them but if their ongoing health worries, which could get much worse, aren't covered in Australia, you could be in for a world of expense.

Tortoiseontheeggshell Wed 03-Apr-13 05:27:57

Nope, it's got to be near her gym and her friends, so inner west/south-ish. And also she can't afford anything but a haycorn rent, and I am not funding her completely, so it will be a wee unit somewhere with low maintenance/non-existence garden. I haven't bought it yet. But it has been the subject of many a tense conversation with DH along the lines of "well, since we're subsidising/bailing out/funding your mother...". Tension! Good times! I'd think that would be the more so in your case - I'm guessing your parents are self-funding, but as they age, you and only you will be their support.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 03-Apr-13 05:20:57

Hi Tortoise! How lovely to talk to you.

You raise a good point - re dh - I'm just kind of ignoring him at the moment, but he would go utterly nutsoid if they moved over here and it actually cost us lots of $$$ to look after them.

It's hard because if they did move here then that would mean we would be forced to stay here and dh would have to give up on any plans/hopes/dreams to move to Sydney or Melbourne (poor bastard).

That's very good of you to buy somewhere for your mum. Is it nearer you? I've seen a REALLY EXPENSIVE house just round the corner from me which would be perfect for my folks if they (or I) had a spare million. sad

Tortoiseontheeggshell Wed 03-Apr-13 05:12:34

Hey, Claudia!

I have no idea. But I'm about to buy a place for my mother to live in and be subsidised by me. Which is not at all the same, I just wanted to point out the obvious here, which is - make sure you and DH are totally on the same page about what your financial and time obligations would be around your parents, on an ongoing basis. Because you'd basically be taking on sole responsibility for their welfare, given that your brothers and any support systems would be over there.

I know that's not what you're actually asking, but this stuff has been on my mind recently so I'm giving you even more to worry about some extra things to consider.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 03-Apr-13 05:05:03

I'm thinking about this as I had a really upsetting phone call from them this morning and between looking at flights home I want to do something else proactive.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 03-Apr-13 05:04:06

I live in Australia with my Aussie dh and daughters, my lovely parents live in the UK where I grew up.

My folks are becoming increasingly old (not ancient yet - dad's 70ish mum a bit younger). Anyway they've had a really crappy time over the last 8 months or so and my brothers (both in the UK) have been USELESS. Mum has been quite poorly and my dear old dad has looked after her pretty much on his own. I would dearly love them to come and live here, but know nothing of the legalities/immigration rules etc. They are considering moving from their current house and I think they should (grin) come and retire out here to the sunshine where I can look after them.

I'll head off and google the immigration rules but wondered if anyone had done this already and if it was easy? Parents had settled ok? Got any advice?

Mums condition is ongoing but not life threatening or anything majorly serious. But she would need healthcare. Dad is reasonably healthy apart from general old person (bad knee etc) problems.

I'd be really grateful for any advice or tales of experience.

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