POVERTY has trapped tens of thousands of British pensioners in Spain.
The hard-hitting study claims that around 20,000 expats are desperate to return home, but finding it difficult to relocate.
Isolation from friends and family, lack of suitable care homes, and the increasing cost of living are the main reasons elderly expats want to relocate.
And the ground-breaking survey claims that once they do finally return home it will put a huge strain on the UK authorities.
The study by Dr Charles Betty, a British expat based in Benalmadena, has spent over a year looking into the reasons, issues and problems of those who want to relocate but can’t due to money problems.
Backed by the University of Northampton, he has discovered that around 5% of all British pensioners on the Costa del Sol wish to return to the UK.
With an estimated 350,000 such expats based here, that means around 20,000 people could be about to become an additional burden on the British state.
When adding in the number of expats also based in Valencia, Murcia and the Costa Brava, this number could reach over 50,000 people.
“I was extremely alarmed by how little in-depth research there is into the problems facing these people,” said Betty, who has lived on the Costa del Sol for three decades.
“Having been involved in welfare on the coast for more than 25 years, I can see that things are really bad.
“Action is needed now to address firstly the problems of accessing home care, and secondly how personal savings can be protected.”
He continued: “The greatest and most important issue that concerns pensioners who want to return is the ‘poverty trap’.
“They are seeing their pensions drop and with decreasing financial assets and the increasing cost of living it means they are simply unable to return home.”
He estimates their return – and they will one way or another – will have serious implications for the country’s elderly care organisations.
“It is for this reason, in particular, that I believe the British government should act to help the enormous group of pensioners based down here,” he added.
His research has involved hundreds of in-depth interviews to uncover the range of issues that the elderly on the Costa del Sol are facing.
He would like to interview more people who are contemplating relocation, to discuss their experiences.
To contact Dr Betty, email email@example.com, or call 952 447 637.
All information gathered will be treated as strictly confidential, and no names will be used.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your stories and reasons for wanting to return.