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MaroubraAndy

Moving my elderly parents

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Hey guys,

My wife and I, both English, are looking to return from the UK back to Sydney after spending a couple of years in London Town. We’ve both Aussie citizens as are our kids so that isn’t an issue. This time however I’m thinking about the possibility of taking my elderly parents with me who are 71 and 79 respectively. My mum (71) does however take a plethora of drugs from blood pressure meds to back pain pills so I’m wondering if this type of thing would be exorbitantly expensive back in Oz considering they’d only be on temporary visas.

Also as they get older and may require care, I’m guessing the cost of old age care could become very expensive very quickly?

Any thoughts or experiences of anyone having done a similar move with elderly parents would be appreciated? Am I mental even considering it? 

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Posted (edited)

When you mention temporary visas, I assume you're thinking of bringing them to Australia on a visitor visa and then applying for a parent visa onshore?   They would then be on a bridging visa for at least eight years (if you apply for a Contributory visa) or the rest of their lives (if you apply for a non-contributory visa). 

The good news is that if they're currently resident in the UK, they'll be entitled to treatment under Medicare under the reciprocal agreement on the bridging visa, exactly as they would on a visitor visa.   As you know, though, medications can be expensive even with Medicare, and unlike the UK, they wouldn't be eligible for pensioner rates on prescriptions.  

There are several bits of bad news.  If you're going for the contributory visa, they'll have to pass a medical in 8-10 years time and if they fail, they'll be sent back to the UK and have to start from scratch all over again  - which would be pretty traumatic in their 80's, so you need to consider what their health might be like by then.   If you're going for the non-contributory, they'll likely never have to face the medical unless they're very long-lived - but then, they'll never be eligible for any benefits including aged care, so you need to consider how they'd manage in old age if they can't afford to pay for private home help, aged care home etc. 

Their UK state pension will be frozen from the day they leave the UK and they will never get an increase again - not a problem if they have comfortable private pensions, but a big issue if not.  

If they want to buy a home, they'll have to get special permission from FIRB and will have to pay a stamp duty surcharge, which works out at about three times the normal stamp duty. 

If they want to travel overseas, even for a short holiday, they'll need to apply for permission (a BVB).  As you've seen during the pandemic, as a temporary visa holder, they can suddenly lose the right of entry even if they've established a permanent home in Australia, so it's not a secure position to be in.

Lastly, although I'm sure they would sacrifice a lot to stay close to their grandchildren, consider that they'll be moving away from all their friends, their home and their familiar territory, plus the right to a variety of old age benefits. 

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Even if going for the Onshore non contributory Visa they would still have to have Medicals after a couple of years in order to be placed in the queue! After all there’s no point putting them in a queue if they’re not likely to pass a medical. Don’t forget that it’s not just the medical conditions that are looked at, it’s also the costs of looking after those conditions. If costs are likely to be over $49000 over ten years they will fail to pass the medical. If one fails both fail unfortunately! Pensioners prescriptions in UK  are actually free for over 60s so the costs in Australia  would probably be substantial. 
At this time with the borders closed to all except citizens and residents, your parents would not be allowed in until such time as the borders re-open and no one yet knows how long that would be. 
Even residents and citizens overseas are currently facing extreme difficulties in getting back into the country. 

Reciprocal medical care would only cover essential care ie care immediately necessary - eg hip replacement following fall but not if it’s just deteriorating and causing pain and in most states there’s no ambulance cover unless you take out private insurance. I’ve heard of people having to pay $800 just for a short ambulance ride to local hospital! 
 

Australia actually doesn’t want elderly people as they cost the tax payer too much as they get older and there’s been some talk of getting rid of the onshore non contributory visas - they already tried once! 

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143 lodged 21 June 2017

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I’m the same age as one of your parents - do they actually want to move away from their lives, belongings, friends, social connections to the other side of the world?  Perhaps you’d be kinder to them, encouraging them to move into retirement living and letting them enjoy the end of their lives in their own place, where they belong.
 

Moving to the other side of the world is expensive (I now pay a lot for my BP meds that were free in U.K. We’ve also resumed private health just to be sure - over $300 a month. We are fortunate in that we own our own home but for someone moving over new it would be a real  challenge, unable to buy anywhere without having jumped through numerous hoops, setting up to be independent and even getting established socially (and we were only away for 8.5 years) is also hard work.  You and the kids are probably  not going to want  them around 24/7 and what if you decide to take a better option in another state - would they be moving around with you? Then,  When they need Ongoing care care that’s going to cost you a lot of money because they’ll be entitled to nothing. All that and their pensions would be frozen as at the date they move and subject to the vagaries of the exchange rate. 

I would be pretty pissed if my kids started planning for my future I must say.

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28 minutes ago, LindaH27 said:

Even if going for the Onshore non contributory Visa they would still have to have Medicals after a couple of years in order to be placed in the queue! After all there’s no point putting them in a queue if they’re not likely to pass a medical. Don’t forget that it’s not just the medical conditions that are looked at, it’s also the costs of looking after those conditions. If costs are likely to be over $49000 over ten years they will fail to pass the medical. If one fails both fail unfortunately! Pensioners prescriptions in UK  are actually free for over 60s so the costs in Australia  would probably be substantial. 
At this time with the borders closed to all except citizens and residents, your parents would not be allowed in until such time as the borders re-open and no one yet knows how long that would be. 
Even residents and citizens overseas are currently facing extreme difficulties in getting back into the country. 

Reciprocal medical care would only cover essential care ie care immediately necessary - eg hip replacement following fall but not if it’s just deteriorating and causing pain and in most states there’s no ambulance cover unless you take out private insurance. I’ve heard of people having to pay $800 just for a short ambulance ride to local hospital! 
 

Australia actually doesn’t want elderly people as they cost the tax payer too much as they get older and there’s been some talk of getting rid of the onshore non contributory visas - they already tried once! 

Yes you do have to pay for your prescriptions here,  You need to check the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. To see who is entitled to it.  I think $41 dollars for some scripts is the maximum, but some of mine are $13. When you reach a certain amount paid for both you and family member for your monthly prescriptions they all reduce to $6 each script till the end of the year,December. We have already reached that this month, so 5 months on the cheap rate. 

Please only take this as what applies to us, we got PR last year, anyone interested needs to read up the benefits scheme and check if and when Eligible. Always get your scripts from the same pharmacy as they will keep a record, and should know who it applies to? No idea if for instance you are onshore for the 864 visa on a bridging visa if this applies. Always worth asking.

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Many thanks for all the information/guidance.  In honesty aside from the financial considerations which are by no means insignificant, I agree with the majority of comments here that I think it’s probably not the best idea for them to make the move. I guess as an only child I feel an incredibly amount of responsibility for them so heading off again for what will more than likely be a permanent move this time fills me with guilt, and this was a fairly big contributing factor to us moving back to the UK.

My wife and I have however talked it through to death but realistically we can’t get away from the fact that Oz is just a better place to raise our two boys. I guess it’s time to put my big big trousers on and get on with it..

 

 

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1 hour ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Many thanks for all the information/guidance.  In honesty aside from the financial considerations which are by no means insignificant, I agree with the majority of comments here that I think it’s probably not the best idea for them to make the move. I guess as an only child I feel an incredibly amount of responsibility for them so heading off again for what will more than likely be a permanent move this time fills me with guilt, and this was a fairly big contributing factor to us moving back to the UK.

My wife and I have however talked it through to death but realistically we can’t get away from the fact that Oz is just a better place to raise our two boys. I guess it’s time to put my big big trousers on and get on with it..

 

 

I hear you about the only child thing! Sucks, doesn’t it?! That’s why we didn’t return from the “holiday” We embarked upon 9 years ago today. My parents were intransigent, they Were Going To Die In Their Own Home!  We stayed so they could do that but, in the end, neither did - mum had to go into care 18 months before she died because of her dementia and she was happy enough because she forgot she had a home. Dad actually made the decision to stay in his respite care place One day and was very happy there - but the time was right for him. I don’t think we would have done anything differently though at the end of the day and it wasn’t easy leaving him in his care home in March.  It was no easier getting the call here, as we did 2 months ago to say that he’d died than it was being just down the road from mum - and the number of nights I spent in A&E over the years, expecting the worst doesn’t bear thinking about.

I think the biggest problem you may have will be what to do when the first one dies - will you go back for funeral? How will the survivor cope? Can you further bolster support for the survivor? Etc 

From the vantage point of being their age, I guess all you can do is suss out what alternatives they might have, try and set up support networks for them - recruit other relatives if you have them etc (I have an aunt and uncle who were childless and they had 4 of us nieces and nephew around to do all the medical visits etc, sit in A&E, take them out for trips etc and they felt very supported.) But ultimately it’ll be up to them what they want to do with their lives.  Oh, and I will say, if they’ve asked you to be an executor for their will - it’s bloody difficult doing it from here in Australia! I’ve given up and asked my son to be my attorney and we are leaving it with the solicitor. 

Good luck, being an only child with elderly parents is the pits but it’s too late to go back and ask for a sibling! 

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Thanks for taking the time to type that out, all remarkably close to the truth! that certainly sounds like a difficult situation you’ve come through but hopefully you’re home and settled again down under.

It kinda sounds morbid and all but you have to think about these things in advance as one day, be it sooner or later the situation will be reality. 
 

One of the more challenging aspects to my own situation is that my parents are pretty awesome at laying the guilt down and in truth hold an expectation that I should some how care for them in old age. I however simply can’t bare the idea of hanging around in the UK for what could be 10 or 20 years waiting for something to happen. My/our old life in Sydney is calling and we desperately want it back!

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Thanks for taking the time to type that out, all remarkably close to the truth! that certainly sounds like a difficult situation you’ve come through but hopefully you’re home and settled again down under.

It kinda sounds morbid and all but you have to think about these things in advance as one day, be it sooner or later the situation will be reality. 
 

One of the more challenging aspects to my own situation is that my parents are pretty awesome at laying the guilt down and in truth hold an expectation that I should some how care for them in old age. I however simply can’t bare the idea of hanging around in the UK for what could be 10 or 20 years waiting for something to happen. My/our old life in Sydney is calling and we desperately want it back!

 

 

 

..reading this back to myself, it sounds terribly selfish although that’s certainly not intended
 

Im sure many folks have been in that situation where you’re essentially forced to choose between living the life that you want for yourself and for your kids versus a life that means you’re closer to your wider family.

My heads tells me I should move back whilst my old life is still warm, with friendship circles and my wider network but in doing so I struggle with the feeling that I’m abandoning my parents with very little in the way of family support to look out for them. Baaaa what a decision..

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MaroubraAndy said:

..reading this back to myself, it sounds terribly selfish although that’s certainly not intended
 

Im sure many folks have been in that situation where you’re essentially forced to choose between living the life that you want for yourself and for your kids versus a life that means you’re closer to your wider family.

My heads tells me I should move back whilst my old life is still warm, with friendship circles and my wider network but in doing so I struggle with the feeling that I’m abandoning my parents with very little in the way of family support to look out for them. Baaaa what a decision..

 

It sounds as though your parents have grown up in an area where children didn’t move away much, so they have always had a rosy expectation of having a safe and happy family with grandkids around them in their old age. You shattered that dream so you’ve got to wear the consequences I’m afraid. They’re grieving the loss, and anger is a stage of grief, so try to be understanding. The guilt goes with the territory of choosing to be a migrant. 

 

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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11 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Many thanks for all the information/guidance.  In honesty aside from the financial considerations which are by no means insignificant, I agree with the majority of comments here that I think it’s probably not the best idea for them to make the move. I guess as an only child I feel an incredibly amount of responsibility for them so heading off again for what will more than likely be a permanent move this time fills me with guilt, and this was a fairly big contributing factor to us moving back to the UK.

My wife and I have however talked it through to death but realistically we can’t get away from the fact that Oz is just a better place to raise our two boys. I guess it’s time to put my big big trousers on and get on with it..

 

 

I can so completely relate to your situation, being an only child. It is not easy - and either ways you'll end up being responsible for making your parents comfortable - be it in their own country or their new adoptive country. It's just some of the things that have to be done out of love / sense of responsibility etc. And then again, every family is different and with the myriad visa options and choices - yep the decision making is daunting.

I'd suggest you speak with a good immigrant agent to weigh out your visa options first and get a feel for the expenses / timelines etc with all the options. In any case it's a long waiting game and getting an application in is just the first tiny step towards a much longer process.

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143 acknowledgement 16th July 2018

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4 minutes ago, Arti said:

I can so completely relate to your situation, being an only child. It is not easy - and either ways you'll end up being responsible for making your parents comfortable - be it in their own country or their new adoptive country. It's just some of the things that have to be done out of love / sense of responsibility etc. And then again, every family is different and with the myriad visa options and choices - yep the decision making is daunting.

I'd suggest you speak with a good immigrant agent to weigh out your visa options first and get a feel for the expenses / timelines etc with all the options. In any case it's a long waiting game and getting an application in is just the first tiny step towards a much longer process.

They are Australian citizens.

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11 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Thanks for taking the time to type that out, all remarkably close to the truth! that certainly sounds like a difficult situation you’ve come through but hopefully you’re home and settled again down under.

It kinda sounds morbid and all but you have to think about these things in advance as one day, be it sooner or later the situation will be reality. 
 

One of the more challenging aspects to my own situation is that my parents are pretty awesome at laying the guilt down and in truth hold an expectation that I should some how care for them in old age. I however simply can’t bare the idea of hanging around in the UK for what could be 10 or 20 years waiting for something to happen. My/our old life in Sydney is calling and we desperately want it back!

 

 

 

Oh yuk! The Guilt Trip parent. Must say mine were never that thank goodness and I think, if they had been, my inner b!tch would have come to the fore and I would not have felt as inclined to take responsibility.

I loved living in UK and really don’t like being back at all. I just don’t belong and after 40 years here, all up, I never will. My life in UK was so much better than anything I have here unfortunately. I am enjoying the granddaughters but missing the grandson. Enjoying being in my own home instead of squatting in my olds’ back bedroom but I’ve not got real friends here even after all those years - I’ve spoken to just one since I’ve been back and that was because I approached her twice.  But I have no choice, I will get on with it because I have to but it’s hard work and yet again I have to make a big effort to reestablish myself. 

Im sure if you actually enjoyed Sydney before then you probably will again, at least you know what you’re going back to and with luck you won’t have been away so long that you’ll need to put too much energy into reestablishing your social connections. Overriding the arrows of guilt coming your way are going to be hardest to manage - Kevlar knickers required!!!!!

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Leaving aside what’s best for the kids, how does your wife feel about living in Australia?


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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The wife wants to move back as much as I do, possibly more in fact. We both just love  the climate and what that facilitates in terms of life style.  We’re very much beach people, love anything to do with the water and want the same for our little ones!

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Hi MaroubraAndy

I’ve been reading all the posts on this thread with interest and have a couple of things to say that might be helpful. First of all, the only child thing- yes, it must be tough, and my daughter will have it, but even if you’ve got siblings, the parent worry can be a nightmare. My dad died quickly at age ninety two leaving my mum alone in her late eighties - they met when she was fourteen. She was also partially sighted and very deaf when she was widowed. My sister couldn’t move back to our home town from the midlands and I was based in Brussels, teaching. Mum made such a gallant attempt at going it alone, I am so proud of what she achieved - but frailty got the better of her and she began to lose her grip a bit, despite my sister and I running back and forth to North Wales as often as we could.My husband and I made the decision to take early retirement and move back to Wales. By this time our daughter was in Sydney and we wanted to consider moving here to live, so we viewed the move to Wales with some reluctance. Surprisingly, we settled well, hooking up initially with people I still knew from secondary school and college. We had a great social life and it was a relief to be free of the endless ‘What ifs’ that plague you when you aren’t on the spot. As mum continued to deteriorate we applied for a parent’s visa to Oz ... and the visa was granted in 2016. We were desperate to take it up and join our daughter but couldn’t leave mum - believe me, we considered it a few times! The guilt is awful, whatever you do never seems to be enough. I felt like a fraud when people said I was doing a good job. If you are desperate to return to Sydney and you’re parents are still fit and well, I’d say go follow your dreams and worry about the aged care later.  We finally moved over three years ago, in our mid-sixties, and neither of us are sure whether we want to end our days here, although we’ve settled and are very happy. We have both agreed that if the waiting list had been five years longer, we probably wouldn’t have made the decision to move over.  I’d move back and invite the parents over for a long visit and take it from there.   
 

How do your wife’s parents feel?

 

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103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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Thanks for your comments / thoughts Fisher, always interesting to see others with a similar set of circumstances / situation.  
 

In terms of my parents condition, I wouldn’t say they are exactly what you’d call fit and well. Mums got pretty tippy bloody pressure which resulted in her having a stroke about 3 years back whilst we were still in Sydney, whilst she’s recovered from it somewhat she still has to walk with a cane. She also suffers from chronic dizziness which very much inhibits what she’s able to do these day’s. Probably her worst condition though isnt actually physical but rather her general outlook which is pretty negative and I think has a huge effect on her wider wellbeing / myriad of other aches / ailments etc etc 

Dad, whilst the older of the two is probably in a better state these days, whilst he does have prostate cancer, touch wood it’s pretty well under control.

My wife’s parents are around 10 years younger and in their late 60s / early 70s. Due to their age, better health and the fact that they’d travelled extensively for most of their lives were able to come out and see us several times a year whilst we were in Sydney, which was incredible. They also have another son whose lived in SE Asia for over 15 years so are very used to the idea of having a global family.  In many ways both sets of parents couldn’t be more different, literally like chalk and cheese!

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