moving my mother to spain

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06 Jun 2012 16:37 by Hz Star rating in lincolnshire. 32 posts Send private message

can anyone give me any advice please, my husband and I are moving to spain and taking my mother with us she is 80 and has dementia. I have read that she will no longer be able to claim attendance allowance, does anyone know what she can get, have been told she would get free what ever they get free in spain what is that. would she get free prescriptions, could I get carers allowance, how do you stand have been told to get the S1  form for her and the residual S1 for us, we are not retirement age where do we stand with health care, what would e have to pay for say seeing a doctor or getting a precription, do you get any help or do you just pay for what the contents of the prescription are. I was told that you could use the E111 for 2 years, but then someone said that is only if you are on holiday am confused

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06 Jun 2012 17:05 by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1408 posts Send private message

I would think very carefully about bringing  your mother to Spain, unless you are very wealthy and can afford residential care, when or if it is difficult to care for her at home.What if anything happens to either of you.Will her physical care demands increase? Even if you're both fit it willl be a challenge to cope with her in the home, as she worsens.Home care is avalable, but at 20 euros an hour it will drain finances. If she is admitted into hospital because of her  condition, or unrelated matter you will have to be with her 24 hours a day, as nurses in Spain don't  do personal care.Believe me, it is a terrible strain, and if you paid someone else to be there it will cost a fortune.  There are many aspects of living out here which need a lot of research, and it may be that you change your mind about bringing her out here. If you did and it didn't work out, then you have the strain of going back to the UK., which is a complicated procedure, especially if it involves selling a house! Sorry to be so doom laden, but I think it will be a bad move.

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06 Jun 2012 20:45 by dringman Star rating in www.Condadoexcursion.... 773 posts Send private message

dringman´s avatar

 Ensure you apply and get carers and attendance allowance before you leave UK.  Pension credit will end but if you bring the correct paperwork you can enter her into the Spanish system and as a pensioner she will get all drugs paid for, but only after doctors here have made their own diagnosis

 Call us on Uk number 01212881323  if you have a question . We have been here nearly 4 years and mother in law 87 next month. As far as long term care homes are concerned , I have seen some like Hotels and UK pension plus allowance plus some private pension should cover cost. A lot less than UK care homes




f you're receiving a UK state pension or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for form S1 (or an E121 if you are moving to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland), which you need to present to the health authorities in your new country of residence. You will then be treated on the same basis as a resident of that country.

Once you have registered your S1 (or E121) in your new country of residence, you will be entitled to a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), allowing you to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries besides the one in which you are resident, including when you return to the UK.

It is advisable to check what is covered before leaving the UK and make arrangements if necessary. 
Use the country-by-country guide and select a country from the list for detailed information.

For further advice, contact the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle):

International Pension Centre
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA

Phone 0191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday 8am-5pm)

Customers who receive a UK state pension can obtain an S2 (or E121) by phoning 0191 218 7777 (Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm).

Customers who receive a UK long-term incapacity benefit can obtain an S2 (or E121) by telephoning the Working Age Group Incapacity Benefit team on 0191 21 87644 (Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm).

The phone number for the Employment Support Allowance team is 0191 21 87037 (open Monday to Friday 8am - 5pm).

If at any time in the future you want to come back to the UK for planned treatment, you must consult your new authorities to find out the options available to you. However, you will be charged in the UK, unless you can provide an S2 (or E112) issued by your country of residence.


If you are under pension age you will need to be autonimo  ie self employed to get full state healthcare  270 euros per month will cover husband and wife. Tax returns will need to be done so depend what your income is and whether you pay tax in Spain . . The carer of your mother still gets NI paid in UK





This message was last edited by dringman on 06/06/2012.

This message was last edited by dringman on 06/06/2012.

This message was last edited by dringman on 06/06/2012.

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06 Jun 2012 23:34 by suemac Star rating in Jumilla, Murcia. 1001 posts Send private message

 I believe that free prescriptions are due to be phased out.  If a pensioner's income is less than 18000€ they will have to pay a percentage of prescription charges, which will be capped at 8€ per month.

You don't say when you and your husband will receive the state pension, however if you have been in work and paying full contributions, you will be entitled to free healthcare for up to two years.  Only one person has to be eligible: it will cover all dependents.

If you haven't already bought a property here, I would strongly advise renting first to see how it works out.  

You don't say whereabouts you are planning to move to.  Although Valencia have stopped giving free healthcare to early retirees, I understand they have a contributory scheme which may be cheaper than private healthcare of paying into the system as a self-employed person.  



 Sue Walker

Author of "Retiring the Ole Way", now available on Amazon

See my blog about our life in Spain:

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07 Jun 2012 08:25 by Hz Star rating in lincolnshire. 32 posts Send private message

we are moving to Chiclana de la Frontera,  ye we are both working at the moment thanks for your advice, have put an ofer in on a house and its been accepted

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07 Jun 2012 08:29 by Hz Star rating in lincolnshire. 32 posts Send private message

oh and I am 53 and my husband 58

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09 Jun 2012 07:23 by weemick Star rating. 13 posts Send private message



I cant believe you would even consider takig your mother with dementia out there. I have a mother with dementia and the one thing i have learned is the slightest change in routine causes extreme distress and is unsettling. Taking her away from her familiar environment will be a disaster.

You seem to be focussing incorrectly  on What you can get from spain as support. im sorry but you are living in cloud cookoo land- whatever we think of our nhs what we have in this country is a utopia compared to elsewhere. The support here in the uk , whilst never enough - is actually pretty good- why else do so many people from abroad make a bee line for the uk- to take advantage of our benefits system.

If you want to start a new life in spain then do so without your mother- if she is so bad and needs to go in a care home then thats the best place for her - and best for you- if she isnt that bad yet then unless you have the support network  in place then your dream should wait.

apologies if this seems all a bit harsh but has to be said




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09 Jun 2012 08:54 by dringman Star rating in www.Condadoexcursion.... 773 posts Send private message

dringman´s avatar

Your opinion noted. What research or experience do you have in this area?  Have you compared he cost of care homes and services in Spain compared with UK. I am concerned about their choice of area. I have suggested they should only consider areas of Spain with a good expat population. Our visits and costings of care homes in ex pat areas are very favourable compared to UK.

Care of the elderley is important in Spain. I have had prices of 1500 euros per month for full care and the homes we visited where very modern and staffed well. Doctors visiting on a regular basis. Have you seen the local pensionista clubs?  Day care centres for the elderley with medical staff . meals and advice centres on hand. ?

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09 Jun 2012 10:46 by amh Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

I think it will be very upsetting for your mother to move to Spain. I totally agree with weemick, I am a dentist an visit care homes treating the elderly and dementia sufferers. Unfortunately dementia can only get worse, the rate at which it worsens varies from person to person and over time for each individual.
With all due respect I don't think you have thought this through, the characteristic feature of dementia is short term memory loss, the sufferer cannot remember things that happened a few days, hours or in severe cases, minutes ago. I had a lady ask me six times in 10 minutes who I was and what was I doing. She will remember events and surroundings from before her dementia started though. You will be taking her away from familiar faces, routines and surroundings to a place that is totally alien, different culture, language, climate. Even things like marble floors when she is used to carpets or wood will be a challenge.

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09 Jun 2012 11:01 by wend691 Star rating in Lincoln & Rojales (C.... 179 posts Send private message

I agree with the last two posts. My Dad had dementia and any change to his routine and environment was extremely distressing for him and, therefore, my Mum. As his health deteriorated, he would become totally confused outside of his home and familiar surroundings although he also had a tendency to wander outside if the front / back door were not locked (again, very upsetting for my Dad and Mum).

Is there any alternative to taking your mother to Spain with you or perhaps delaying your plans for a while?

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09 Jun 2012 12:04 by fincalosolivos Star rating. 8 posts Send private message

Hi, the decision as to wether bringing your mother to Spain is clearly a very sensitive one and I am sure you will take all issues into consideration, clearly being with loveones and receiving consistant care must outweigh a lot of other issues. Without being selfish , you do have a life as well.  I am unsure if your statement that you cannot claim attendance allowance is correct. I understand that the deptartment of work & pensions that deals with this issue have an ''exportability team' which specifically deals with this issue. If you are currently claiming in the UK I believe you can continue to claim as long as you are relocating to another EU member state. In fact I look after an elderly English gentleman (89 yrs)  who lives alone in our village. He relies on my wife and I for extensive support from shopping, doctors trips, social intergration, housekeeping etc. He applied (with our assistance) for attendance allowance from the UK benefits system despite living in Spain. This application is being processed as we speak but we have been informed that despite not living in the UK he is able to receive the benefit as long as he is not receiving a similar benefit from the Spanish government, and why not the man has worked from 14 yrs old to 70 years old paying his national Insurance for 56 years.

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09 Jun 2012 12:29 by Foxilady Star rating in surrey. 277 posts Send private message

Foxilady´s avatar

I think it's amazing the lengths some humans will go to in order to make things fit in with their desires.  It's a bit like how we all like to accept good outcomes and flatly refuse to believe a professional opinion when it involves a bad outcome.  We bury our head in the sand and behave as though we have a narcisisstic personality disorder!

My father had Altzheimers and I just cannot imagine what it would have been like for my mum if she moved to another country with him ie especially the support she received here in sheltered accommodation with him, with the hospital facilities downstairs, so that eventually in second stage he was moved down so that they could look after him and she could see him every single day.  If he had had to be moved any distance away I doubt very much that she would have had that closeness to him anymore, as she would not have been able to travel far herself.  Have you considered the mechanics of this say, if your mother was moved into a home and you both work and cannot go the distance to see her.  She would be among people who speak a different language for starters, apart from all the other unfamiliar surroundings etc too numerous to mention.  Nobody knows exactly what happens to the dimentia sufferer ie what they think and feel.  I know when I told my dad I was moving from London and couldn't see him so often anymore, a tear came into his eye and this was a dad that hadn't been able to recognise me for over 2 years!   All extremely upsetting.

Without a crystal ball, I think you are in for at the very least an emotional rollercoaster and at best a tough time ahead. 

My partner and I visit Spain often and like it very much, and we have toyed with the idea of renting and moving over, but I am over 60 and he is 54 and I worry about the eventuality of one of us getting dimentia as both our fathers died with this terrible illness.  I would not like either one of us left in Spain and all the difficulties with unfamiliar health care, not to mention not having all our friends nearby to help.  Oh of course we could make new friends but maybe that wouldn't happen so easily.  So many things to consider making a move when one is older.  We therefore make us of our freedom, as hubby retired at 50, and we travel more and more each year seeing new sites and renting so cheaply too.  When we come to Spain in winter time we rent for €400 a month and that's pretty much the price we pay everywhere we go ie India is the same.

One poster said with pension and allowance etc this would cover the cost of a care home.  How much does a care home in Spain actually cost?  Here in UK if you have no savings its free and it isn't like the old days when the free homes were different to the private, they're all the same now everyone in same home.

I take it as you have put in the offer etc that you are single minded on this decision and wish you luck, as  i do think u are going to need it.



If I shine too brightly, then put your sunglasses on oy vey

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09 Jun 2012 12:29 by rowantree Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

I am not going to comment on the situation with your mother as other posts have pretty much covered everything I would say, however regarding your own health care I would like to share our experience with you.

Iam 50 (48 when we moved here) and my husband in 43. I have a health condition that means I need monthly injections and also regular access to a GP and a range of prescription medications. We planned to set up a business in Spain and  understood that we would be covered by the reciprocal EU agreement via E11 or equivalent for 2 years.  But were told by our local Spanish health centre that it is for emergency treatment only, and the Dept. of Social Security were most unhelpful in terms of clarifying the position. So we decided to go to a private Dr for a couple of months whilst we got on our feet (the move will probably be more stressful than you think, especially if you move to a Spanish speaking area, our Spanish was ok when we moved here but local accents plus subjects they don't teach you in your UK Spanish class such as dealing with Social Security terminology can make the early months tiresome as well as an adventure)

Example of private medication and treatment costs:

It cost me €90.00 for a 6 month supply of injectable medication (private prescription) and €30.00 for every injection, plus €50.00 a time for  regular blood tests at a private clinic to monitor blood levels and then another €30.00 to discuss the results with the private Dr. Other medication was about €6.00 a packet (still cheaper than a UK prescription)

After a couple of months my husband became self employed and so now  both my husband and I receive full Spanish NHS health care and make contributions to the State Spanish pension scheme.  But and this is a big but,  the monthly National Insurance contribution for self employment (Autonomo) is €250.00 per month regardless of turnover!!!! which can be a big outlay if your business has a bad month, tax is also calculated differently here too and paid monthly or 3 monthly depending on the size of business. (I can recommend a fantastic accountant and legal team who can help with this if you want further legal advice)

You may or may not manage to wrangle the system into submission and get 2 years full health cover(including GP and prescriptions etc  from your E11 depending on where you live but even assuming you do,  at the end of the 2 year period you either need legal employment with the usual mix of employee and employer contributions or one of you will need to become self employed otherwise you will not have access to the Spanish health service for either regular or emergency treatment..

Many UK  ex-pats we know fiddle the system by returning to the UK for regular visits and maintain that they are still UK residents even though they spend more than 3 months at a time in Spain, both the Spanish and UK authorities are beginning to crack down on this so this "option"  won't be available for much longer - Hope this helps and doesn't sound too negative

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09 Jun 2012 12:39 by Rob in Madrid Star rating in Madrid. 274 posts Send private message

Rob in Madrid´s avatar
While it is a bit better on the coast one must remember that Languages of are iSpain is Spanish, Catalan and I think Valencian. This means that many of your day to day interactions will be in one of those languages and while many people speak English many of the support staff don't.

For example I made an appoint with an English speaking doctor, but the he was the only one. Trust me it is very stressful trying to deal in a language you struggle to speak. I mean every time you want to make an appointment or change one you have to find someone to make the call for you. When you get there and the receptionist starts to speak to you in a mile a minute you stand there feeling really really stupid.

Yes Spain is wonderful but dealing in a strange language is a pain in the ass


Decided after all I don't like Spanish TV, that is having compared both.

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09 Jun 2012 13:23 by GuyT Star rating. 497 posts Send private message

 Many UK  ex-pats we know fiddle the system by returning to the UK for regular visits and maintain that they are still UK residents even though they spend more than 3 months at a time in Spain, both the Spanish and UK authorities are beginning to crack down on this so this "option"  won't be available for much longer



Why should the UK authorities care? If people maintain they are UK residents and pay UK taxes - who is being fiddled? I divide my time equally between UK, France & Spain. If I were to attempt to comply with all the stupid regulations I wouldn't be able to own a car, driving licence, car insurance, medical care, etc...they all ask the question "where do you spend more than six months? ...because that is your country of residence". If you don't fit into a slot that some peanut  has decided you ought to fit into, then they will all stutter, hum, hah....and say they can't help answer any more questions. Just get on with your life and cross the bridges as you come to them.

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09 Jun 2012 14:11 by rowantree Star rating. 10 posts Send private message


Perhaps my point wasn't clear enough:

1. As far as I understand it, a person is classed as a resident in Spain if they reside here for more than 3 months at a time without returning to their native country, and are treated as a resident of Spain by the authorities in both countries regardless of whether they have gone down the official residency route or not.  This means that they are not legally resident in the UK even if they still own property there, and are therefore they not legally entitled to UK NHS health care. Until recently this has not been too much of a problem for people who have been telling their UK GP's that they are still resident in the UK,  even when they live in Spain for more than 3 months at a time, as no one has been checking . However recently  I know several people who have returned to the UK for treatment (not UK residents as they have lived continuously in Spain for more than 3 months  and they have been interviewed by their NHS practice managers regarding dates of arrival and departure from the UK etc and have had to lie to get treatment. At this stage the Uk authorities do not seem to be checking border control records but I suspect that is a matter of time.

2.. The Spanish health service is contribution based and the UK health service is residence based, so although a person can be a Spanish resident,  if they do not pay tax and NI in Spain they are not entitled to Spanish NHS health care nor will they  be contributing to a Spanish pension.

3. People who return to the UK every 3 months and then stay there for 3 months are enttitled to access the NHS as they are still UK residents

4. Tax residency status is different to the residency associated with where one lives and is a little more complex, though in essence it relates to where income is earned or pension is sourced.

My point is that people under pension age who live in Spain for more than 3 months without returning to the UK for 3 months, could find that their access to the UK NHS is closed in the near future as the authorities in the UK are taking much tougher line and in answer to your question "Why should the UK authorities care?" I would think it is because all National Health services are increasingly short of money and need to cut back on expenditure where ever possible.

The point of my original post was to offer our experience of the "system" for health care when under pension age and highlight the various pitfalls and benefits. As far as I can see the rules are fairly simple regarding residency and tax residency, and a good lawyer/accountant can sort out any problems or queries. What is clear from our experience is that it is not up to individuals to choose to comply or not comply with either Spanish or UK legislation,  though some seem to think this way.

We have already  had an unannounced inspection from The Hacienda (Spanish tax office) to confirm that my husband's business is legal and correctly registered for tax  etc,. they also wanted to check where his income is earned, to ensure he is paying tax in the right country and paying tax and NI in Spain just to access the Spanish NHS. So I think it would be naiive to think  "the authorities don't care" maybe it was that way once but times are changing.

You might also find that car insurance companies actually do expect you to comply with residency rules and if you have not then your policy may be invalid if you are unfortunate enought to have to make a claim.



This message was last edited by rowantree on 09/06/2012.

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09 Jun 2012 14:23 by Foxilady Star rating in surrey. 277 posts Send private message

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I am not sure about residency, taxes etc for Brits in Spain.  If you leave the UK legit as a pensioner and sign on another EU zone its simple and straightforward.  But if some are flouting the system ie leaving the UK and living in Spain without informing authorities and are say claiming ESA and DLA eg then they will get caught as everytime we leave the UK and re-enter the hologram is recorded and centralised here in UK and authorities have indicated that instead of the old "random" checks that all exits and entries by UK residents will be checked, so that will pretty much put a stop to any UK resident making fraudulent claims while spending much of their time in another country.  This is one of the reasons why the Tory government have changed the rules and people on ESA have to keep regular appointments now with ATOS and they are apparently planning more changes to change peoples status from ESA to unenmployed and thereby available for work.  So watch  this space.


If I shine too brightly, then put your sunglasses on oy vey

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09 Jun 2012 14:45 by Farnsfield Star rating in Benalmadena. 4 posts Send private message


I am Chairman/Consultant for Age Care Association a similar organisation to Age UK in Britain. I may be able to help you. Could you  or telephone  Spain 952447637, Sincerely, Charles Betty


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09 Jun 2012 14:49 by Foxilady Star rating in surrey. 277 posts Send private message

Foxilady´s avatar

Correction, i couldn't think of correct name - it's an RFID tag which is read by a reader everytime you go through immigration at the UK Border Agencies.  In the good ole days they often waived you through or just took a cursory glance at your passport.  That has now all changed.  Every UK passport is now scanned, so authorities know where you all are all the time.  So anyone "scamming" the system will get caught for sure.  The wonders of technology lol.


This message was last edited by Foxilady on 09/06/2012.


If I shine too brightly, then put your sunglasses on oy vey

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09 Jun 2012 15:36 by gilly s Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

We came over at 55 and 56 expecting free healthcare and then 6 months later they said it was stopping.  We now have private which costs us about 1800 euros a year which, of course we did not budget for. We are now 61 and 60. There does not appear to be hardly anything in the way of "after care" and there is no work. It costs 270 euros a quarter to pay into the spanish healthcare system for early retirees which is more expensive for us than private. There is one little Alzheimers place in Torrevieja and the brits do help the charity a lot. We would certainly not want to still be here in our late 70's/80's although I suppose healthcare and after care in the UK by then might be a lot worse than it is now.

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