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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 04:35 GMT 05:35 UK
Growing old in the sun
Breakfast's series: growing old in the sun
Jim lives abroad, but doesn't qualify for Carers' Allowance
Every year, thousands of Britons choose to spend their retirement in a warm sunny country.

The climate and more relaxed lifestyle are just two reasons for retiring abroad.

But what happens if you become ill?

For many, it's only then that they realise that financial entitlements from the state are not the same.

And medical care is often not comparable too.

  • On Breakfast this week we've been examining the issues and looking at the options for people who are thinking about retiring abroad.

    You can catch up on the whole series again, here on the web, day-by-day.

    Many people have told us that retiring abroad was the best thing that ever happened to them, but be careful of all the options and think it through
    Michelle Mitchell, Age Concern

    Despite paying UK taxes, you could find yourself having to pay for care if you become seriously ill while abroad.

  • And we still want to hear your stories about having to pay for care abroad
  • All of the reports from this week are available below - you will need Real player installed on your computer

    Growing Old in the Sun: day-by-day

  • Tuesday 5 September: Jim's story
  • Breakfast's series: growing old in the sun
    Should Jim be entitled to help with his care?

    Having retired to Tenerife three years ago, in good health, Jim began to develop Alzheimer's in the past year, and now needs care.

    He doesn't qualify for Carer's allowance as he would if he lived in the UK. Finding it hard to make ends meet - his worried daughter is thinking about bringing him back to the UK.

    She thinks he'd deteriorate quickly if he moved back though. He's paid taxes all his life she says - gets pension out there why can't he get benefits?

    And Jim's daughter came into the Breakfast studio to explain in more detail Jim's situation

  • Wednesday 6 September: what are the options?
  • Breakfast's series: growing old in the sun
    Jane Coleman is a carer, but has to charge for her services

    We meet one man who has chosen to live in a care home - it's expensive though and he's worried his daughter will have to help him make ends meet.

    John Lyndzey moved into the only British-run care home in Tenerife almost a year ago.

    But with no help from the State, he's struggling to pay the fees.

    We also met a British nurse, Jane Coleman, who is offering a home help service to ex-pats.

    She explained that there isn't much need for district nursing in Tenerife because of cultural differences - elderly people there are looked after by their families.

    We spoke to Michelle Mitchell from Age Concern.

    She emphasised that people really need to do their homework carefully before moving abroad.

    Age Concern is calling on the government to look at the pensions available to those retiring abroad.

    In Spain - and in other parts of the EU - British people can draw their pensions.

    Age Concern have asked us to point out that within the EU, you'll also be able to get your pension increased in line with inflation.

    But, if you retire outside the EU, you won't necessarily get the uprating, meaning that the value of your pension could be eroded by inflation.

    This causes particular problems if you're retiring to Australia, Canada or South Africa.

  • For more advice from Age Concern, please follow the links on the right hand side of the page.

  • Thursday 7 September: the sad journey home
  • Kay Crowe
    Kay is now living happily in a residential home in the UK

    Today we heard from one woman who retired to Spain and was then forced to return to the UK after she became ill.

    Kay Crowe spend four happy years in Spain.

    But after she became ill and was unable to care for herself, she was forced to return home.

    In Spain there is little social care provision - as families tend to care for elderly relatives.

    For British pensioners who become ill there are few options unless they can afford to pay for care privately - that's because they're not entitled to a Carers Allowance as they would be in the UK.

    She said that people should think carefully before retiring abroad - and should explore what's on offer in the country they're moving to, as well as checking what UK benefits they would or would not be entitled to.

    Today's interviews

    We spoke to Anne McGuire, the minister responsible for disabled persons

    Do you think that the cost of care abroad should be free? e-mail us now

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    BBC Breakfast


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