• Expert Q&A: Rare dementias - Tues 3 March, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of rare dementias. It will be hosted by Nikki and Seb from Rare Dementia Support. If you have any questions about rare dementias, they will be here to answer them on Tuesday 3 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

Coming back to UK


Registered User
May 13, 2014
Hi all. This is my first post. My parents live in France but my mum's Alzheimer's has now got to the stage where it is becoming increasingly more difficult for dad to deal with alone. After a recent phase of mum not recognising him (possibly caused by a urine infection), dad has taken the decision to move back to the uk.

He's struggling a bit both with knowing where to relocate to and where to start to get help. He has no family other than me and my brother who live at opposite ends of England and few friends here.

As they have lived abroad for more than a decade and the diagnosis was carried out in France, does anyone have any advice on how to get started within the UK system given that they don't live here yet? Is there anything he can do from over there to get the ball rolling or does he have to physically live here to get his foot on the ladder of care and support?!

After mum's recent problem of temporarily not recognising him, dad is understandably shellshocked and doesn't know what to do for the best. He is visiting the uk for a couple of days without her in the next week or so. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks


Registered User
Dec 21, 2012
Abingdon Oxfordshire
Hello Knatterly.
We arrived back from France, after twenty happy years, just about a year ago.
My husband had worrying symptoms of Alzheimer's and Epilepsy; and was also experiencing mobility problems.

The French system was not terribly helpful - seeming to feel that the immediate family should do everything - but my family was in UK.

My husband found that his French was vanishing, and he was unable to explain his problems to our French doctor. It was therefore difficult to get a definitive diagnosis.

We are now well integrated into the UK system, and receiving most, (I hope) of the allowances to which he is entitled.

My husband always handled all our financial affairs, and they had become very muddled owing to his deteriorating mental capacity, so I had to sell our French Home, and buy a new home in UK.
Fortunately. our daughter and son - in law took the responsibility of searching for, and buying a retirement flat for us, not too far from where they live.

We sent our furniture to UK, where it was put into storage.

Things you could do is to contact the nearest a Medical Surgery to register your parents as soon as you know where they will be living. I would also contact Age UK (Formerly Age Concern) They steered me through all the multitude of applications to claim Carer's Allowance, and Attendance Allowance.

One piece of advice that I'm sure all here would endorse - get a Lasting Power of Attorney under way as soon as poss. It will give you authority to act on behalf of your mother and father. I didn't do that, and by golly I wish I had.

I could go on and on about the various problems and how they worked out for us, but if you would like to send me a PM about any specific problems you might encounter - feel free, and I'll do my best to give you any help I can.


Registered User
Mar 16, 2013
Hi Knatterly. We are in the process of planning a move like your Dad. My husband is still able to take part in the planning, to a degree, but I am the one who is doing all the preliminary organising involved in selling our house etc. Our family are in the UK and although my Spanish has always been better than my husband's, he is now beginning to lose what he does have. We are facing similar problems to those which Eleonora faced.

From some research I have done I have been told that whenever we finally get over there we need to register with a GP ASAP and then hopefully this will set the ball rolling. Personally I intend to wait to start organising POA till we are actually in the UK (I have already done one to cover the Spanish side of our affairs). I've also had translations made of the neurologist's diagnosis which include all her comments made in a letter to our GP. I do sympathise with your Dad.


Registered User
May 13, 2014
Thanks for all your responses. Some really helpful things to think about.

This is a great resource which I'll definitely be utilising for both support and information. Such an awful gang to be part of but I can see already there some wonderful people waiting to help out!


Registered User
Jan 6, 2011
I wonder how many people who decide to go and live abroad and contribute to their chosen country's economy over many years regret doing this. It seems that when they need a health service they feel forced to come back to the UK. This is one of the reasons my husband and I decided never to retire abroad.


Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
We had a house in Spain for twenty years while still working in the UK. We did however keep a flat here at the same time so when we retired we were never isolated abroad. We never used the health service in Spain but our neighbours rated it highly accepting that the family did many of the services we expect nurses to do here.

When I began to notice some oddities in my husband's behaviour I decided to get out of Spain even though AD was not what I suspected. We sold up in 2010, sold our flat here in the UK and bought a more suitable house. Keeping your options open is always wise which I learned in the 1960s as an emigrant to New Zealand. The first thing I did then was save up the return fare - just in case!


Registered User
Mar 16, 2013
I wonder how many people who decide to go and live abroad and contribute to their chosen country's economy over many years regret doing this. It seems that when they need a health service they feel forced to come back to the UK. This is one of the reasons my husband and I decided never to retire abroad.
I rather think that the original poster had been hoping for some helpful comments and possible advice. Many have found that, while the health service in their 'chosen country' has been excellent there are other factors to take into account when dementia hits. Personally speaking, one of these was that, in our case, I want our sons to be able to spend as much time as possible with their father while he is 'still their father'.

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