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American single mom moving to Brighton to take care of English mum

(42 Posts)
user1470361776 Sat 03-Sep-16 04:41:08

I hope this is the right place to put this. So my parents are both British and my dad died when I was very young. I lived in Gloucester until I was 9, when my mum, brother, and I moved to the United States. I have wonderful memories of my early childhood in England, and remember being heartbroken when I moved. Decades later I live in Los Angeles with my 10 year old daughter. My mum moved back to the UK about 5 years ago, and lives alone in the house she herself grew up in (my grandparents') on the outskirts of Brighton, living with her sister. She has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and things are rapidly going downhill. Her sister is healthy but very old and definitely not up to taking care of her, and I imagine she won't be able to take care of herself for that much longer. My mother is also my best friend, she is the kindest silliest most thoughtful person I've ever met and we speak for hours on the phone every day. I want my daughter to have a strong relationship with her grandmother, and they are so much alike. So, my plan is to move to the Brighton area with my daughter and rebuild our lives here - this sounds overwhelming and crazy, but also feels right in so many ways. I'm a nurse here in the States, and I'm looking into how to transfer my skills to the UK system as it's something I'm not familiar with but it seems relatively easy. Not sure how many hospitals there are near Brighton, so London might be a more reasonable option, but wary of a long commute. My daughter is a smart, funny, awesome kid, she loves science and math and is really into soccer/football. Also nervous about building community and making friends as an adult - I like books, leftist politics (I thought moving meant avoiding the Donald Trumps of the world! Brexit sure proved me wrong.) I've applied for my daughter's British passport and in theory we would move just before Christmas, and stay with my mum and aunt until we figure out schools and job. I guess I'm mostly posting for reassurance that this isn't a completely ridiculous idea, experiences with transitions for kids moving countries and cultures, making friends as an adult, and any specific tips regarding Brighton/London area.

Sootica Sat 03-Sep-16 05:17:43

Gosh what a big decision for you but well done for making it.
I'm not knowledgable about Brighton in terms of nursing jobs or schools so can't help on that front but just wanted to say it's a wonderful caring thing you are doing. Brighton is definitely a leftist liberal town and I doubt there were many brexit voters there smile
Have you looked into school places for your daughter?

cexuwaleozbu Sat 03-Sep-16 05:49:42

There certainly are Brighton hospitals who will be delighted to have you. The pay and conditions may be less good than you are used to (though paid holiday and workers rights are better). I wouldn't plan to commute into London - the travel costs will be absolutely overwhelming.

As a pp says getting your DD into a school will be the biggest hurdle but as she is 10yo this is the perfect time to move. For children born between 1 September 2005 and 31 August 2006, the application process for secondary school places starts now, with open days over the next 2 months and the application deadline of 31st October - make sure that you get an application in and you will avoid at least 80% of the nightmare that you would have if you were planning this move at any other time. Getting a place for the current academic year won't be so easy but whatever happens it will only be for a year.

You'll need to find out by what date you need to be actually fully resident in your mum's house for the address to be considered valid. Some LA's will require you to have moved by 31st October, others will consider the address valid so long as you are living there by the time the decisions are made. You don't want to have your application assessed with a USA address on it as you will always be at the end of the queue for all distance criteria!

More info here

LyraMortalia Sat 03-Sep-16 06:16:30

Donald Trump supporters and Brexit voters are not the same type! That sort of judgemental bigotry won't go down well in a liberal, left leaning town...oh no wait it might nowadays, other than that sounds like a great plan. There are several hospitals, private and state around here and its a great place to live. There are some very good private schools and you might want to consider that if you can state schools can be patchy actually in Brighton what do you mean by outskirts? A village on the downs or Portslade equivalent?

confuugled1 Sat 03-Sep-16 06:21:27

And there's more than one big hospital in Brighton - most reasonably sized towns have at least one big hospital, smaller towns will have smaller hospitals. Plus there will be smaller specialist centres and private hospitals.

You wouldn't want to live in Brighton and work in a London hospital - there are problems on that train line at the moment so it would make commuting very difficult.

Why not Google hospitals in or near Brighton, have a look at the NHS pages for Brighton and Hove, and Google nursing vacancies / agencies in Brighton to get an idea of what's around and what the demand is...

I'm sure it's not what you meant but your OP makes it sound like you're worried there might not be even one big hospital in London. I know the Anerican press like to knock the British healthcare system but I think that's more because it is so successful at what it does and as such represents a threat to the US healthcare industry who make zillions of dollars from making people pay for their healthcare. They don't want people to know that this sort of system can even begin to work. That's not to say it's perfect by a long shot! But that's a view from friends that work in medicine internationally and from an American friend that lives in the UK (married to a Brit!) - she has a long term disabling condition and she couldn't afford to live in the US any more even if she did want to because of her health - she reckons she would have suffered significantly more and would have been dead several years ago (not to mention bankrupt) if she had stayed in the US judging by what happened to people she knows / knew on similar circumstances. Not to mention that when she left the US many years ago to travel and experience life, although she was having problems with her health she hadn't had a correct diagnosis of what was wrong with her so she's suffering now as a result of a lack of intervention when she was young.

Which is all a very long winded way of saying I'm sure you'll find some nursing jobs in Brighton! And it sounds like a fantastic adventure for you and you dd so enjoy it. Plus there's a fairly active MN meet up group in Brighton and I think local site so worth checking those out - they'll have much more of a clue about the local stuff grin

I think you're pretty amazing to want to do that for your mum - not sure that I would be able to do it for my mum, much as I love her dearly!

GinIsIn Sat 03-Sep-16 06:33:20

Brighton is known for being very, very liberal - they voted overwhelmingly against Brexit and have one of the country's best attitudes towards things like gay rights, for example. You will find no fans of Donald Trump there!

As to hospitals, you will need to check on the legalities of your practicing medicine in the UK, but there are some very big and really good hospitals in Brighton, and nearby at Haywards Heath and Tunbridge Wells. Do you have a nursing specialism?

alltheworld Sat 03-Sep-16 06:35:33

You say you want your daughter to have a strong relationship with her grandmother but say the latter has Alzheimer's and is going rapidly downhill.

GoldFishFingerz Sat 03-Sep-16 07:13:48

Great timing to move DD. She will like everyone else start secondary school new

GoldFishFingerz Sat 03-Sep-16 07:16:07

This is out of date but gives you schools/grades fit the area

www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/education/school_tables/secondary/12/html/846.stm

GoldFishFingerz Sat 03-Sep-16 07:21:31

In that link, in the colomn where it says 5 gcse's, consider anything above 60. The national average was 50 something a few years ago.

Evergreen17 Sat 03-Sep-16 07:25:43

Lyra hmm really?

Brighton will be a good place to be. Marked with a smiley in my post Brexit map grin sadly my area voted out so I know make all my purchases in London (since here they dont want my filthy european feet in their shops)

I dont think you will have problems finding work as a nurse and yes quite a few hospitals.

In regards to DD if she cant get a place this year you can home school her for a year, do look into it and then find a homeschool group of mums and dads here to do some activities and trips

Best of luck

sashh Sat 03-Sep-16 07:27:40

You might find it easier to work in a private hospital as the rules are different about qualifications. If you struggle with work as a nurse the there will be ample opportunities to work in the care sector, but much lower wages. Have a look at nursing agencies.

Once you have been in the UK 3 years you will have access to student loans so if you have not managed to work as a nurse you could retrain then, or take a post graduate course.

Private pays better wages for nurses but the benefits are not so good. In the NHS you can move hospitals and your 'service' moves with you. You will start with 4 weeks paid annual leave and it goe up, I've been out of health care for nearly 20 years so do check this. You will also pay in to the NHS pension scheme which is a 'final salary' scheme, this means your pension is based on years of service and what you earn. If you have to give up work due to medical reasons you can get an 'enhanced' pension, in my case they doubled my years of service and I started to receive a pension in my early 40s, which they backdated for 10 years.

You might want to check the rules on tax credits, some benefits you need to be resident a certain length of time, others you don't. You will probably be able to claim child benefit from day one.

Agree with comments re Brighton being liberal, you will find gay clubs, vegan cafes and food shops, lots of tattooing and piercing places but it also has all the usual high st shops and people who go to work in suits.

I also agree about not commuting to London with the exception of 'private nurse' jobs. This is something I have only encountered in private hospitals and it is almost exclusively Arab families that hire private nurses.

Basically you are hired by the family to stay in the room of their relative, usually an older person. The family will also be paying for a twin room because the patient's personal maid will be staying with her.

So the hospital nurses do all the nursing tasks, the maid does all the dressing tasks the private nurse is there 'just in case'. It is the most boring job ever, nurses I knew who did this would bring a book to read and be bored for a 12 hour shift. It was often taken as a rest rather than work.

GoldFishFingerz Sat 03-Sep-16 07:27:50

You can get more info about a school looking at this website. The link is to a Brighton school but you can look others up.

dashboard.ofsted.gov.uk/dash.php?urn=114580

MephistoMarley Sat 03-Sep-16 07:29:56

Brighton is a very left leaning, liberal place on the whole, but it has its areas of deprivation and lack of diversity like anywhere. There are a couple of secondary schools that I would avoid so tell us what area you are looking at and we can advise.

MissWimpyDimple Sat 03-Sep-16 07:36:56

I have a nearly 10 year old daughter and live in Brighton. You can PM me if you like!

So there are 2 hospitals in Brighton. The Royal Sussex County Hospital is a huge major trauma centre which includes the Royal Alexandra Hospital (children's hospital). The other is Brighton General Hospital which is a non emergency.

They are both run by the same trust and that trust also includes the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath which is around a 30 minute journey. They have a smaller emergency department and also house Hurstwood Park neurological centre.

Schools wise, your DD will start secondary school in September 2017 so you need to be on the ball about applying. There are decent schools in Brighton and you will get a space but you have to apply. You "may" be able to use your mothers address before you move but be careful. It's going to depend an awful lot on where you want to live in Brighton. The areas are quite different but compared to LA it's tiny!

I absolutely love it here. Have been around the world and back and this is the only place in the UK I would live. It's very liberal and alternative and work isn't well paid as the world and his dog want to live and work here. But as a nurse that wouldn't be an issue.

Good luck

Dozer Sat 03-Sep-16 07:39:45

Something important to be aware of is that the NHS and local authorities are cash strapped (cuts for many years) and health social services are often not great, with strong pressure on families to provide care, and less care provided to people whose families are willing and able to do this. Lots on MN boards about this, and the difficulties for families of providing care.

LIZS Sat 03-Sep-16 07:45:50

Brighton should be a good place to find work although whether at the equivalent of US depends on how recognised your qualification is. If there is a gap there are plenty of care homes and private clinics which might be suitable for the interim. I've known people commute to the top London specialist hospitals like GOSH but probably difficult with a young child to fit shifts around. Tbh I think that may be your main issue , finding wrap around childcare to cover your working pattern and caring commitments, especially once she starts senior school. You also need to speak to LA about the application process as Brighton operates lotteries as well as applications based on distance and you may well find yourselves missing the initial October deadline. If you arrive before next September she'll need a school place at a junior school until July, which would be wherever had a vacancy and not necessarily local. Whereabouts on the "outskirts" does your family live?

Broken1Girl Sat 03-Sep-16 07:55:29

I live in the area, just some thoughts.
There is one hospital in Brighton, the Royal Sussex.
I don't want to sound rude but commuting to London wouldn't really be possible, especially working shifts. There are no trains from 11pm-6am ish and Southern rail are a fucking joke anyway Forget driving. I know in the US Brighton - London is a distance you'd jump in the car to get ice cream...it's just not the case here. People do not drive into London.
Your other options are Haywards Heath, Crawley, or going along the coast Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor etc. All far more commutable from Brighton. People are mostly Brexiter types, though, especially in the Worthing / Bognor area as the population is predominantly elderly, but if you can deal with that in patients and socialise with more like minded people in Brighton then that's irrelevant really.
Good luck.

Dozer Sat 03-Sep-16 07:57:18

Yes, commuting to London by train won't really be feasible: google news stories on problems with Southern trains.

mayhew Sat 03-Sep-16 08:07:16

To work as a nurse in the UK you have to be registered. See nmc.org.uk. As an overseas trained nurse ( not trained in the EU) your qualifications will have to be evaluated, you may have to take tests and/or do further training. It does cost money.

Your mum might have to lend you money to get you through this process. You can work as a healthcare assistant, minimum wage, while you get established. This is what most people do. There is plenty of work for hca and nurses. That shouldn't be a problem.

horizontilting Sat 03-Sep-16 09:02:55

flowers for you. Really sorry to hear about your mum's alzheimers and that she is rapidly going downhill. It must be very difficult and painful for you being far away from her.

It might be very difficult for your young daughter to move in with your mum in a few months time, living with someone with Alzheimers can be very hard for anyone, especially a child. It can also be difficult for someone with Alzheimers to have a child around, depending on how the condition has affected them.

I think the boards on here about adult carers of ageing parents would be a good place to ask questions and find out about more about the feasibility of these aspects of your plan (the moving in together part). You sound like a lovely daughter and mum, it must be so hard balancing everyone's needs.

Butteredparsn1ps Sat 03-Sep-16 15:20:22

An Australian friend of mine worked in a non clinical role, prior to converting her qualification. The employer supported her visa application and subsequently employed her in an RN capacity.

The NHS jobs will give you an idea of jobs available in the area, and there is usually an RCN (Royal college of nursing) job fair in London in the autumn.

Depending upon your speciality the UK has roles (including senior grades) in the community and in GP practices as well as hospitals, so you may wish to look into these too.

PestoSwimissimos Sat 03-Sep-16 15:28:25

There are two main hospitals here in Brighton; the Royal Sussex County Hospital and Brighton General Hospital, both of which are NHS hospitals. Also, we have private hospitals, the Montefiore Hospital which is in Hove and the Nuffield Hospital in Woodingdean.

Lewes is not too far away and also has the Princess Victoria Hospital, which again is a NHS hospital.

PinPon Sat 03-Sep-16 15:32:58

I hope it all works out for you OP. Just wanted to wish you luck with your decision and potential relocation.

My mum moved back to the UK to care for her ill mother (my gran) some years ago. She found it tricky at times but was very pleased that she'd done so.

I hope I'm fortunate enough to have children who would consider doing something similar for me if required.

specialsubject Sat 03-Sep-16 15:53:54

as mentioned, commuting to London not feasible. Cost, time etc.

Brighton is a big place and you'll find people whose views match yours, same as anywhere in the UK. What you won't find is that a racist bigot has a reasonable chance of becoming prime minister...

also - if your mum starts to need full-time care, you won't be able to provide that and work as well. Before you uproot your life, please look into the long-term situation. How will her care be funded? The house can't be sold to do that while her sister is still there, but if she is aso elderly then there are some harsh truths to face.

Of course you may want to come to the UK anyway, and if you are eligible to do so, why not?

I hope everything works out.

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