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Friend's Mum has advanced dementia in Oz

(18 Posts)
Newquay Tue 05-Jul-16 18:44:15

A friend of mine, a single lady in her 50s, works as a bank carer at local hospital so poorly paid but manages well enough as she rents a single room in a house for £80 a week inc.
Her only sister emigrated to Oz years ago and then Mum decided to go too. No one has any money.
Mum now has advanced dementia. There is no help out there; a home would cost $50 (£30) a day which they simply don't have so sister has Mum at home. She has a partner who has 3 children and they have a toddler. Sister is at her wit's end and wants my friend to go out to look after their Mum. She can only go for 3 months at most.
She already sends £200 a month out to Oz which helps with expenses.
Friend (who is a simple soul, somewhere on Asperger's spectrum) doesn't know what to do.
I have no idea what to say to her. Of course she wants to see her Mum but she will run up debts which she can't afford to repay-she can't get a bank loan as she doesn't have permanent employment. She was there at the beginning of the year so cannot afford to keep returning. We've lent her money in the past so she didn't pay bank charges which has always repaid.
She says she'll sleep on it. She comes to visit us tomorrow and uses our phone to ring Oz as we have a subscription which means cheap calls so no doubt we'll chew the fat then.

Jane10 Tue 05-Jul-16 18:49:59

Oh dear. What a dilemma. Its lucky that she has a friend like you.

M0nica Wed 06-Jul-16 07:46:27

What is her mother's entitlement to British benefits? She has presumably spent her working life in the UK and gets a British pension?

If she returned to the UK would she be entitled to have care etc supplied by NHS?

Maggiemaybe Wed 06-Jul-16 08:20:56

Oh dear. Presumably mum's UK state pension will have been frozen, so that won't help the situation. Is she receiving top up benefits in Australia and would this mean help with care costs out there? Or would costs be lower back here? My heart goes out to them - the whole issue of caring for elderly relatives is difficult enough without having the complications of overseas regulations as well.

Newquay Wed 06-Jul-16 16:51:36

There's no way she could travel back to UK now. Friend here has decided to tell her sister she can't go til early October. That means she can honour her work commitments to cover over summer holiday period and, at the same time, save for her air fare, enough for her rent while she's away and on her return til she's back at work and still pay her sister the £200 a month towards Mum's car-and pay for her keep while she's there too!
Mother does have a UK pension but don't think she's entitled to any top ups-she took up Oz citizenship a while ago-this exhausted what money she had leftover from house sale here.
It's just all so sad-here seems to be no help out there. There must be other folks in the same situation mustn't there? Wonder what happens to them. . . .
Anyway thanks for your sympathy-very much appreciated.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 17:10:49 - quite a lot of information on there (which your friend's sister is probably aware of) including:
National Dementia Helpline

You can call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for information. They can also tell you about National Dementia Awareness Month held in September each year or about conferences and seminars on the subject of dementia.

Costs explained on the same
You can only be asked to pay an income-tested care fee if you have a yearly income above the following approximate thresholds:

individual person – $25,711.40
member of a couple but now separated due to illness (individual income) – $25,243.40
member of a couple living together (combined income) – $39,925.60.

Fees for care homes explained:
Does her mother have an Australian pension as she became an Australian citizen? It is means-tested but quite generous if you have no other income.

Of course, if your friend goes even for 3 months at a time, then she will not be paid by her agency, may lose her own home if she doesn't keep up the rent etc.
What a dilemma and food for thought for all those who think about emigrating.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 17:17:32

Another link re the Age Pension, Australia:

If her mother is 65+ has been a resident (not necessarily a citizen by the sounds of that) for at least a continuous period of 10 years then she could be entitled to an Age Pension, which would help towards care costs.

Perhaps your friend's sister has investigated every possibility, but she sounds quite at her wits' end so may not have the time to do so and there may be more help available than she realises.

M0nica Wed 06-Jul-16 19:20:05

When people end up in predicaments like this I do feel desperately sorry for them, but I cannot help wondering why they didn't think this all through when she sold her house and moved to Australia. Surely, an elderly person moving abroad after retirement would consider the prospect of possibly, at a later date, needing residential care in their new country and how it would be financed/what local help would be available etc etc, before they made the move.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 19:42:35

I agree M0nica, although I am not sure how long they have been there. Newquay says that the sister went years ago and then Mum decided to go too and became an Australian citizen.
Presumably they both knew that they needed to pay into the compulsory superannuation scheme, and there is a fairly generous pension for those who do not have a private pension.
There is help for those in need, perhaps not the safety nets that we take for granted here.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 19:43:48

You can't emigrate to Australia in retirement without evidence of having a considerable lump sum.

Galen Wed 06-Jul-16 20:02:37

How big?

Maggiemaybe Wed 06-Jul-16 20:54:42

It's such a tangled web though, M0nica. Perhaps this lady went out to help with her grandchildren's care, if her daughter isn't well off, perhaps she didn't expect to stay so long, and certainly she wouldn't have expected to be struck down by dementia. Life can be a b****r sometimes sad

M0nica Wed 06-Jul-16 21:05:53

I do not want to labour a point, but a move like that, for any reason should be thought through.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 21:33:30

Galen I think it is between A$500,000 and A$750,000 plus an income stream of over A$50,000 - A$65,000 pa.
It is not clear whether or not an additional A$500,000 - A$650,000 is required for investment, or whether this refers to the amount above.
It varies according to area.

However, it sounds as if this old lady went out years ago and has perhaps worked over there, in which case she should be entitled to a pension if she has paid superannuation.
There are also other types of visas such as Parent Visa, Age Dependent Relative visa etc, but your family would have to show that they would be financially responsible for you I think, if you are too old to get a working visa.

Jalima Wed 06-Jul-16 21:37:31

Mother does have a UK pension but don't think she's entitled to any top ups-she took up Oz citizenship a while ago-this exhausted what money she had leftover from house sale here.

The pension will remain at the level it would have been when she emigrated.
She is an Australian citizen so should get an Age Pension.
If she went over for the sole purpose of caring for DGC of the sister then it is not really fair for the sister to want Newquay's friend to give up her life her to go over and care for their mother.

Newquay Wed 06-Jul-16 23:30:03

Gosh Jalima thank you for all that info.
I agree entirely with you Monica it was a batty decision (which they are well known for!) and, at the time, some of us said are you sure about this? She is/was an intelligent lady, very well read and a history graduate but not quite on this planet at times. When she had sold her house a mutual friend was ruthlessly helping her go through her stuff ready to go (somethings of a hoarder) and I asked "right then where are you going next Friday when you have sold?" She laughed and said "why here, of course, I'm not going to Oz for another 6 weeks"! I asked if she had arrnaged this with the buyer and, more importantly, did her solicitor know. She just thought she could simply stay in the house after she'd sold it until she went!!

Newquay Wed 06-Jul-16 23:46:15

Mum only went a few years ago and has not worked there. I don't know what happened but she had to use all the proceeds of her house sale (and some given to her by a generous friend) to enable her to stay in Oz otherwise she would have been sent back home. Sister out there says she has explored every avenue to get help but has been told there is none so I will forward your info on thank you so much. She just went there because she thought the heat would be better for her. GC is only one year old and she never has been able to do any work/child care even before the dementia started.
She doesn't have an Australian pension. She has not been there for 10 years yet.
She has certainly never had access to the kind of funds you refer to so not sure how she is staying there. I just know they're struggling now.
The effects of daughter here risking losing her job and, therefore, her lodgings are serious and she understands that which is why she says she's not now going til October but her sister is a bit of a bossy boots who is likely to try to intimidate her into going NOW!
No matter what (daft!) decisions were made in the past, the situation is as it is now. She's stuck out there, daughter at wit's end, a toddler to look after as well as trying to work and no money. The daughter here cannot be pressd into dropping everything, potentially jeopardising her own situation here.
I will pass on your info Jalima, thank you so much.
Isn't GN wonderful?

Jalima Thu 07-Jul-16 10:00:07

There is a lot more information available Newquay - getting a visa can be very complicated, depending on circumstances.
Health problems in old age could potentially wipe out any savings as I don't think you can start paying into Medicare when you are older.
I am surprised that mother managed to become an Australian citizen if she went fairly recently without a job.

The sister must be a bit younger than your friend if she has a toddler - she probably thinks that her sister is single, has no commitments and can drop everything to rush out and help.

Australia is a great place but you do have to be prepared to rely on your own resources to a large extent. However, I would be surprised if there is not some more help available.

Good luck, hope they can sort something out.