Should I give up an opportunity to move out of the country because of my mom's needs?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 11, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I'm young and considering a permanent move out of the country. My mother is in her 50s and capable of living independently (no major medical problems), although she does suffer from serious depression (especially in the winter). I'm an only child and she is single and a hermit - she won't join any activities to meet new people and I really don't foresee her changing her mind on that. Her family is all the way at the opposite end of the country, so if I move she would essentially be alone.

I love my mom with all my heart, and I'm wondering if I should just stay? I'm planning the move but I'm terrified that something bad will happen over here and I will not be here to take care of her. I also would feel horrible leaving her completely alone, and I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what scares me more - staying here or leaving her completely alone, especially as she gets older. Has anyone else faced a similar situation? Advice?

Another quick question - if she becomes unable to take care of herself, am I legally allowed to take her back to my new country of residence with me?

Expert Answers

Nan Hayes is founder of, the national resource network of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists for seniors, and President of RightSized Living, a senior home transition service in Illinois.

You have much on your plate! The first question is, have you discussed your thoughts with your mother? As she is in good health, she most likely has something to say about the pending move and her role in it.

It is also difficult to try and make so many decisions based factors that are not known. Focus on the things that are clear today. A recommendation would be to take all this in steps. 1. If you choose to move out of the country, you will need to assess the visa options. Are you going as a student or a worker? Decisions to make this permanent will come later. So much can change in years ahead. 2. Family across the country is still family, so you are not leaving your mother alone. Talk to them about your concerns. 3. If your mother truly suffers from depression and that is your main concern, see if the two of you can work together to get help on that front. It will change her life. Moving elderly parents overseas can be complicated, especially if they require medical or financial assistance. Your mother would also need to obtain a visa. You should consult with a Family or Elder Law attorney.