New visa requirements force elderly Mom with Alzheimer’s out of Thailand

Published:  27 May at 6 PM
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The family of an elderly US expat in Thailand are being forced by immigration officials to relocate their Alzheimer-sufferer Mom to the Philippines.

Although reports on expatriate forums may be considered by many as fake news, this sad case is clearly another example of how expat life in the country is being made difficult by local immigration offices. The perfect solution for the 77-year old’s family and the old lady herself has been thrown into disarray by the recently-introduced changes to the so-called retirement visa requirements. As a result, the only remedy is for the Alzheimer’s victim to be relocated to a care home in the Philippines whilst her daughter and her family stay, probably temporarily, in Thailand.

The post, written by her daughter, explains how, due to her mother having no assets or substantial savings to allow for treatment of her stage 6 Alzheimer’s back in the USA, long-term care is prohibitively expansive for the family. The daughter and her husband had already moved to Thailand with the intent to check out care facilities in Chiang Mai. Once the plan had been seen as possible and a large house been rented, the old lady’s granddaughter flew with her to Thailand. Caretakers were hired, but the illness has progressed too far for the arrangement to have been successful. Eventually, a suitable care home was found at a far more affordable price than in the USA, and the old lady settled in happily, with her family paying most of the expenses of 80,000 baht per month. All, it seemed, was well.

Sadly, the recent changes to visa requirements put paid to the plan, as the amount paid per month for the old lady’s stay wasn’t according to immigration, an income for her, even although an Embassy statement provided proof of the monthly amount. She doesn’t receive a 65,000 a month pension, nor does she have 800,000baht for a Thai bank deposit as the onset of Alzheimer’s led her to make poor financial decisions and left her with just her Social Security pension. Whichever way the situation was presented to immigration, the answer was the same.

Since the shock of the decision, her daughter has now found a suitable care home in the Philippines, but arranging the move has been hell. She and her mother will leave Thailand permanently this week, with the rest of the family probably following at a later date. Since they arrived in Thailand, they have followed the law as regards immigration requirements, but are now disappointed and disheartened by the government’s view of expats.

Replies to the daughter’s post have been sympathetic as well as supportive, with her making clear that, as an example, the family would also be at risk of deportation if they followed the 400,000 deposit requirement for the mother. Others recommended using a visa agent, but it’s now too late for that, with the daughter clarifying it’s the fact that the 80,000 per month and more being paid to the Thai care home is coming from the old lady’s family rather than from outside the country.

The heartbreaking horror of this story is that, prior to the recent rule changes, the old lady was happy in her care home and her family were happy in Thailand. This, and the fact she was fully financially looked after, obviously means nothing to immigration authorities.
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