Coming Back to the UK for Residential Care
Retiring abroad is a popular choice for many older people. Year-round sunshine makes destinations such as Spain, France and Greece particularly tempting for people wanting to enjoy their golden years in a warm climate, with some adventurous souls choosing to move even further away to more exotic destinations. However, most of these retirees fail to take into account the possibility of failing health or make plans for what to do should living independently become too difficult.
Residential care abroad tends to be very different from the UK. For example, in Spain and Portugal there is actually a legal requirement for grown-up children to care for their older parents – hence there is a significant lack of residential nursing homes in these countries. The situation is slightly better in France, but there the cost of care is higher than in the UK.
Many expats complain that nursing homes abroad are not conveniently located, whilst many care home residents complain of language problems and escalating costs, even more so now that the pound is not well placed against the euro. Add in the additional expense for those who require nursing care and costs can quickly spiral out of control.
Returning to the UK
Most older expats who find themselves in need of care are keen to return to the UK. Being closer to their loved ones is a major factor, along with cost considerations and the ease of communicating in English with nursing staff. However, it is not simply a matter of returning to the UK and sourcing appropriate assisted accommodation. The returning expat must apply for ‘ordinary residence’, for which they need to prove that they intend to settle permanently in the country, and it takes time for the application to be processed, with no guarantee of success.
Once ordinary residence is established, there is a further assessment to determine whether financial assistance is available for nursing care. In the meantime, the expat will be required to pay for their own fees in a care or nursing home.
It makes good sense for anyone planning to spend their retirement abroad to plan ahead for the future. Before retiring to that place in the sun, it’s well worth sounding out a few residential homes to determine the type and standard of care that you might expect should you need to return.
Look out for established companies such as our portfolio of residential care homes in Crawley and West Sussex, making them well placed for visits from friends and family anywhere in the UK.
With life expectancy on the increase thanks to improvements in medicine and nutrition, we can all expect to live for longer than previous generations. A period of retirement in a sunny climate is a wonderful way to spend active years, but anyone thinking of becoming an expat would do well to consider the future when making plans in order to ensure a stress-free future, no matter what direction their lives should take.