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A Smooth Transition for Retired Expats Returning to the UK


Have you retired abroad and are thinking of returning to the UK into assisted living? It has been reported that more and more expats are returning to the UK to live out their retirement in style due to the many potential advantages. Being closer to family and friends is a key driver and feeling more at home with the removal of any language barriers and knowing your rights in a country you are from and familiar with, can be comforting as you age.

Returning to the UK as an expat and transitioning into a retirement village can be a significant change but with the right planning, we can help you make the transition smoother and more comfortable. Here are our top tips:

  • Plan Ahead:
    • Start planning well in advance of your return to the UK. This includes finding suitable assisted living facilities and sorting out financial and legal matters. The process can take time so make sure you give yourself plenty of it to do all the research and planning!
  • Research Assisted Living Facilities:
    • Look for assisted living communities that offer the services and amenities you need. Visit several facilities to get a sense of the atmosphere, staff, properties and other residents. Think about the location carefully and make sure it ticks all the boxes for you.
  • Plan for the Future:
    • Make sure that you consider your long-term needs and preferences and ensure your assisted living arrangement can adapt to changes in your health or mobility.
  • Budget and Finances:
    • Review your financial situation and create a budget that accounts for the cost of assisted living. Consider any pensions, savings, and potential healthcare expenses that might come up.
  • Legal and Medical Preparations:
    • Ensure your legal and medical documents are up to date. This includes your will, power of attorney, and medical directives. They are likely to have been different when living abroad, so review them carefully.
  • Healthcare:
    • Register with a local GP (General Practitioner) and discuss your healthcare needs with them. Familiarise yourself with the NHS services and how they apply to your situation now that you are retired and potentially more vulnerable.
  • Downsize and Declutter
    • Before your move, downsize your belongings and declutter. When moving countries, you want to be even more considered about the amount of personal items you are transporting and you'll likely have limited space in your new living arrangement if you are downsizing.
  • Stay Connected:
    • Hopefully you have maintained contact with friends and family at home in the UK, but if not now is the time to reconnect.  Loneliness can be a challenge as you get older, so nurturing relationships is crucial.
  • Explore Local Amenities:
    • Get to know the local area around your assisted living facility. Find nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and other amenities that you may want to visit. We have lots of guides on our website for each of our retirement villages to help you familiarise yourself with the area.
  • Participate in Activities:
    • Most assisted living communities offer a range of activities and social events. You can engage in these as much or as little as you want but they are a great way to meet fellow residents and stay active.
  • Stay Informed:
    • Keep up to date with changes in UK laws and regulations, especially those related to pensions, healthcare, and taxes, as you will need to ensure you are compliant and in the know.
  • Embrace the Change:
    • Moving countries again can be challenging, but embrace the change and view it as an opportunity for a new phase of life.
  • Personalise Your Space:
    • Make your new living space feel like home by personalising it with familiar belongings, photos, and decorations. You can also view it as a chance to bring back some things that remind you of your time abroad.
  • Seek Support:
    • Don't hesitate to seek emotional support if you're finding the transition difficult. Many assisted living facilities have counselling services available.
  • Stay Active and Healthy:
    • Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, staying physically active (if possible), and engaging in mental activities like reading or puzzles.

A UK retirement village may be just the ticket for you if you are still looking for an active lifestyle with a community at the heart of it. Historically they were a place to move when an elderly homeowner was no longer able to live in their own home. Now, it is a more proactive lifestyle choice which people are making to enjoy later life to the full. Moving into one gives you the reassurance that support it available as your support and care needs grow and you should be able to live out your later life there.

Remember that the transition to assisted living can be challenging, but with proper planning and a positive outlook, you can create a fulfilling and comfortable life in the UK during your retirement years.

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