Should my mother continue to live in Ireland or move to the United States to be closer to family?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 20, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is 66. She lives in Ireland, alone, and has had a stroke. She has some paralysis and her speech appears to be coming back. We are trying to take care of things from the US and it is very difficult. Is it possible or even advisable for her to live alone there anymore or should my sisters and I make plans to care for her in our homes, in the states? There is lots of advice for people IN the US but her dual citizenship, location, and socialized medicine is proving to be most challenging for us. Any ideas?

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 may wish to begin by determining what her support system is in Ireland. Do you have extended family, friends and relatives there? What services are available to her? Have you asked your mother where she prefers to live? It is understandable that you wish to have her here with you, but it may help to explore options and establish a plan for a short term and then longer term solution, such as moving to the States.  

If she has dual citizenship, there are limits on Medicare/Medicaid coverages. If you are her sponsor, her coverage is based on your income. You need to consult your state Medicare office for details.  The process to file and process a Petition for Alien Relative can be rather lengthy and sometimes frustrating. I advise you to consult an immigration attorney, preferably one who specializes in family immigration law. You will need to provide proof of things such as relationship, your residency, legal status and  the ability to provide financial support for your mother.