Newbie looking ahead

I don’t care for anybody full time at the moment, but it might not be long before I need to. Tricky situation really.
My SIL has bipolar, maybe schizophrenia. She’s 44 and always lived with her parents. To make matters more complex, she is Colombian (as is my wife, obviously). Now, whenever my wife phones home her mum talks of nothing but death and how SIL will cope on her own - she probably won’t as I don’t think there is any of the support for bipolar in Colombia as you get here, plus too many people will probably take advantage.

Father-in-law has always worked hard and has managed to save money, bought several flats (not worth much here though), so people think they are rich. He has health problems (had bowel cancer, recovered, has a stent, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and T2 diabetes). MIL overweight but mostly in good health, but not the best decision maker.

So, wife believes that we will have to take in SIL one day, assuming she can get a visa - I did speak briefly with an MP years ago and they said if a family member is a dependent (ie both parents die) then a visa should be granted. But the world is a different place now.

Obviously neither my wife or I want to have SIL living with us, it would be very disruptive and stressful, and one of our children is behind in school and needs our support. But no idea what other solutions are available.

Also, on a more positive note, I went to a folk festival last weekend and helped a friend’s mum who has advanced rheumatism and is in a mobility chair. I enjoyed helping her out!

Currently looking into options for “granny annexes” built in the garden for SIL. The flats the family own would probably come to about £20-25k so if (when) things go south that’s what we will be looking at - although we’d expect to see a chunk of that go in the crazy bureaucracy that surrounds wills and inheritance in Colombia. No idea how any pension would migrate either.

My parents are relatively healthy, but getting older too. Nobody has money for care homes though.


You must stick up for your own right to a peaceful life of your own, or you will be saddled with this girl for the rest of your life. Is that what you really want.

Colombia must have some services available, SIL can’t be the only one. Why should she come here and expect treatment from our NHS etc.???

Hi Jon, Welcome to the Forum.

I’m really sorry to hear that your in-laws are suffering with ill health. It sounds like you are looking into options for future care for your sister-in-law. This helps to look at possibilities for care and perhaps consider or re-consider assumptions you are making.

On a practical note, I am aware that Citizens Advice can help explain options around visas and access to healthcare in the UK. They can be contacted through their website

There’s information published to the CarersUK website about funding care e.g. a fact sheet for Housing and care options

These may be useful sources for information to help you think through the alternative options. And the Forum members may supplement this with their own similar experiences.

TBH the reason to think about bringing her here is not about the NHS, it is because she cannot look after herself. Somebody needs to. And no, things really are very different out there. Many people with mental health problems often become homeless and die in poverty. And “this girl” is my wife’s sister.

I understand all that, I just don’t think she should move to the UK unless you are prepared to care for her for the rest of her life at no cost to the state. Yours is about the fourth person proposing similar action in the last few months. What will happen to her when you are both too old or ill to care for her any more?

Be VERY wary if your sister in law does not possess UK citizenship :

How to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad - NHS

If in any doubt , your local CAB will be able toadvice on all aspects concerning non residents :