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Sending Mum Abroad

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Sending Mum Abroad - MiM for BBC R4

Comedian and writer David Baddiel explores why some people are choosing to send their elderly relatives abroad for 24 hour dementia care.

From soaring costs to reports of staff under pressure, covid concerns and neglect in some homes, deciding where in the UK to house loved ones who need intense support poses a huge dilemma for relatives.

David Baddiel, whose father suffers with dementia, hears how some people from Britain and Europe are choosing to send their mums, dads and partners as far away as Thailand for dedicated round the clock support.

Peter Brown runs a care resort in Chiang Mai - the mountainous north of the country. His 31 dementia patients are referred to as ‘guests’ with care tailored to the individual. Meanwhile Martin Woodtli runs a nearby ‘village’ where 14 people live in Villas with round the clock personal carers. He set things up after struggling to find care for his mother in his native Switzerland.

David hears from relatives who are attracted by both the type and the cost of care in Thailand. One of them, Michael Williams from Bristol, talks about the pain he felt leaving his mum to be cared for thousands of miles away for the first time. Meanwhile, another relative reveals how he’s seriously considering joining his wife to live in one of the villas she's just moved into in the Chiang Mai care ‘village’.

At the moment, there’s a quiet revolution around catering for foreign nationals with dementia in Thailand, but its not the only place. It’s also happening in Mexico, where people have begun moving their loved ones because they couldn’t find suitable or affordable care in the United States. David asks if the phenomenon will catch on, and whether more people will be attracted in the long term to the option of sending mum or dad to live out their days abroad.

A Made in Manchester production for BBC Radio 4.

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