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Should I take Mum back to her home country? - Carers UK Forum

Should I take Mum back to her home country?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Mum has dementia. GP/social services say she's fine, despite delusions, wandering, inability to observe cars/burning pans/off food etc. They did agree to respite while I had an op (mostly because I said I would pay, I think, despite not working at the time due to caring).

Now Mum's in a lovely care home. Their capacity assessment was basically "Good heavens, she was in her own home and you were managing all this?!?!" if you'll forgive my paraphrasing. Basically she can become a permanent resident.

She hates it though. Or does she. She's always hated everything and everyone, particularly herself (which has been a lifelong tragedy for her and heartbreak for us all). But she seems particularly down. I haven't seen her like this since before antidepressants started 15 years ago (and she's still on them).

Lovely staff say she is distractable and on good days had many laughs. On bad days she goes round telling everyone she's going to top herself. She's never been happy with me unless I give her 100% of my life (it's why I am childless, though I managed to rebel and get married 10 years ago).


Up in the Nordic countries, care standards are generally high and she could speak her mother tongue and eat familiar food from her childhood and have childhood friends visit as she regresses into the past more.

Or is that unfair as she's been here 50 years, speaking English every day and feeling more part of our inclusive culture here than she did back in her homeland. She married here and raised me here and gave her professional working life here in our health service and paid her taxes here and celebrated our national millstones here.

She was always grateful for how welcoming Britain is but something broke in her at Brexit. She can't remember Brexit now but since then she has not stopped saying "but I'm a foreigner and they don't want me here," even now.


Would it be better to take her back to her home country, to a care home there?
Hi Faz

Difficult one.

General rule of thumb: any move, especially for someone with dementia, is likely to be traumatic and will take months, most likely, before you get a true picture of whether it has helped or not. So if she hasn't been in the care home for long, it's probably not a great idea to unsettle her again. But you know your Mum best.

It's really important for people with dementia to have contact with loved ones, especially as those links become more likely to be severed over time. Ideally, that's on a face to face basis - it's what we were designed for. How would that work if she goes back to Scandinavia?

I strongly suggest you get a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and write up the possibilities of what is a good aspect of such a move, and what are the drawbacks - Pros and Cons. It will help to focus your thinking and you can make your decision for the best. It's hard to do, but it's totally worth it.
I lived in Australia for 3 years.
Saw many couples struggling to decide where to live, especially when the partners came from opposite sides of the world.
They would move back to the UK, decide they didn't fit there, then go back to Australia again, only to decide that had changed too while they'd been away.
They ended up feeling they didn't belong anywhere.

Ultimately, as daughter this is your decision to make, and it's really tough. Sadly, mum's friends will also be getting ill and dying off. When mum dies, as sadly she will one day, where will that leave you?
How will you cope if she is very ill and dying in another country and you are here?
If you went with her, where would that leave you afterwards?
It is so difficult to see a parent going through this and the effect it has on them.

Naturally you want to do your very best for her and returning home sounds a good idea on paper but will she recognise places on her return? will it have changed beyond recognition? Will she recognise friends and relatives who will have aged and changed and if she has a memory of them being 50 years younger she won't know them.

Will your mother actually know where she is when her condition worsens? How long will that transition be? It is a massive upheavel for little to no return on it.
Old thread - locked for usual reasons