Family of gran with Alzheimer's say she'll die if deported from Sweden

Family of British Alzheimer’s sufferer who faces deportation from Sweden because her passport has expired fear she won’t survive move to the UK as they vow to continue fight against ‘inhumane’ immigration chiefs

  • Kathleen Poole, 74, has been threatened with deportation by Swedish officials  
  • Her family fear if the bedbound grandmother is forced back to the UK she will die

The family of an elderly British woman with Alzheimer’s, who faces being ripped away from her loved ones and deported from Sweden, fear she won’t survive the journey to the UK if she is forced to return.  

Bedbound Kathleen Poole, a 74-year-old widow, moved to Sweden from Macclesfield 18 years ago to be close to her son Wayne and his Swedish wife, Angelica, and their four children.

But 11 years ago she developed dementia and has been in a care home near her family for the past 10 years and is now so incapacitated she cannot feed herself or go to the bathroom unaided.

An application made on her behalf by her family has been rejected by ‘inhumane’ Swedish immigration chiefs because she does not have an up-to-date passport or financial statements to demonstrate her right to be in the country post-Brexit.

Mrs Poole’s daughter-in-law, Angelica, 42, said: ‘We don’t know just how long she has left which is why we’re fighting so hard to keep her in Sweden with us. We don’t know if she would even survive the journey to England because her health is so poor, there’s a significant risk that she wouldn’t.’

Her family say they have not updated her passport as she is bed-bound and can no longer travel. Mrs Poole is pictured in her bed at her care home in Sweden 

Widow Kathleen Poole, 74, (centre) moved to Sweden from Macclesfield 18 years ago to be close to her son, Wayne (right), his Swedish wife, Angelica (left) and their four children

Kathleen Poole, an elderly British woman with Alzheimer’s who faces being ripped away from her loved ones and deported from Sweden, was given fresh hope today – as immigration chiefs promised to look again at her case. Mrs Poole (left) is pictured with her son Wayne (right)

News the pensioner would be thrown out of Sweden was met with a flurry of outrage in the UK, with politicians branding it ‘cruel’ and ‘deeply shocking’. 

But last night, Mrs Poole’s family was given fresh hope after Swedish authorities claimed they would look again at Mrs Poole’s case. 

READ MORE: Outrage as ‘inhumane’ Sweden DEPORTS bedridden British Alzheimer’s sufferer, 74, and separates her from her family – just because her passport has expired

Officials told the pensioner’s loved ones to supply them with a doctors’ letter outlining her condition so that the authorities there can ‘reassess her situation’. 

‘We have just been told to get medical certificate detailing her condition, explaining that she cannot move and is confined to bed, that she cannot eat or speak and is extremely fragile,’ Angelica told MailOnline from her home in Tanumshede in south-west Sweden. 

‘Once we give that to the Migration Agency, an official there told us they will reassess the situation.

‘It’s positive news but I won’t get too far ahead of myself because they don’t seem to be communicating with the Swedish Police Authority who are continuing to pressurise the British Embassy in Stockholm into finding alternative accommodation and care for Kathleen in the UK.

‘They haven’t done so yet… and neither have my husband and I because I made a promise to my children that their grandmother will stay in Sweden. And I always keep my promises.’

Angelica continued: ‘Kathleen’s family is here. She has a sister and brother who live in Buxton in Derbyshire but they haven’t seen her in 10 to 15 years.

‘The simple fact is that Kathleen’s life were her grandchildren. It’s been incredibly tough on them to watch her slowly slip away but we aren’t giving up.’

In 2004, Mrs Poole, gave up her job as a hotel chambermaid and with her husband, Ron, followed her son and daughter-in-law to the town of Tanumshede, just north of Gothenburg and close to the Norwegian border. She is pictured with her late husband

Mrs Poole’s daughter-in-law Angelica (left) told MailOnline that immigration officials instructed the family to get a medical certificate detailing Mrs Poole’s (right) condition, explaining that she cannot move and is confined to bed, that she cannot eat or speak and is extremely fragile

Mrs Poole is pictured next to her son Wayne as she reads a card and enjoys a box of chocolates

In 2004, Mrs Poole, gave up her job as a hotel chambermaid and with her husband, Ron, followed her son and daughter-in-law to the town of Tanumshede, just north of Gothenburg and close to the Norwegian border.

READ MORE: Under-fire Swedish officials offer glimmer of hope to elderly bedridden British Alzheimer’s sufferer who they are threatening to deport and separate from her family

Her family have released touching photographs of her taken in happier times. In one image she is seen sitting next to her beloved husband Ron on a bench amidst a tranquil countryside setting. In others pictures, Mrs Poole poses with her three granddaughters and grandson and is seen clutching a box of chocolates.

In one particularly touching snap she lovingly cradles a new-born grandchild.

Ron passed away a few years ago from a stroke and Mrs Poole developed Alzheimer’s when she was 63. The crippling degenerative illness has meant she is now no longer able to look after herself.

She needs to be hoisted from her bed by carers to get into a wheelchair. She also uses continence pads.

Her loved ones said they made an application for her to remain in Sweden before the 2021 deadline. However, it was rejected as she did not have a passport.

Last year, they were told she would be deported in September. Police reportedly showed up at the care home a few months later in January when her loved ones, who do not have power of attorney, were unable to provide the documents needed for her to stay in Sweden.

Officers went through the pensioner’s wardrobes and riffled through her clothes before quizzing carers about her, the family said.

Mrs Poole developed dementia 11 years ago and has been in a care home for the past decade. She is now so incapacitated by the degenerative illness she cannot feed herself or go to the bathroom unaided

In happier times: Mrs Poole cuddles one of her grandchildren. She now faces being ripped from her family and deported to the UK, having not lived there for 18 years 

 Mrs Poole is seen clutching a box of chocolates in a photo shared by her family

News of Mrs Poole’s plight has outraged campaigners, who have lashed out at the decision – with Labour MP Hilary Benn branding it ‘deeply shocking’.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, who represents Macclesfield South at Cheshire East Council, told MailOnline: ‘I think it’s very cruel… I’m really surprised at Sweden. We know them for being very caring – their social care is really good.

‘It’s just bizarre they should pick on a woman of that age who has this added complication of dementia.

‘We don’t know what will happen to that poor woman if she’s ripped away from her family and taken to a strange county she won’t remember.’

The Labour councillor called on Whitehall to step in and oppose the decision by the Swedish authorities.

Branding the fiasco as ‘another downside of Brexit’, Ms Jeuda added: ‘We need to get something from government on this, otherwise what are we saying about our old people – that they really don’t matter?’

While David Milstead, a British professor of physics in Sweden who is part of the British in Sweden group, hit out at police saying they were ‘just doing a box-ticking exercise’ about what she can take with her instead of saying ‘this is preposterous, this should not be happening’.

‘Cruel’ and ‘deeply shocking’: Labour MP Hilary Benn, left, has lashed out at the move by Sweden to deport Mrs Poole, formerly from Macclesfield. While ocal councillor Laura Jeuda (right), who represents Macclesfield South at Cheshire East Council, blasted the decision to deport the pensioner, labelling it ‘cruel’

Under the withdrawal agreement for Brexit, UK citizens living in the EU before the 2016 referendum were granted the right to remain.

However, in several countries, it involved completing applications and paperwork to prove historical rights under free movement rules.

Mrs Poole and her family are being supported by the UK Foreign Office. A spokesperson for the Swedish government has said it is ‘against the law’ to comment on any immigration matter while the European Commission said it was ‘aware’ of Mrs Poole’s case and that it was ‘in touch’ with Swedish authorities.

More than 520,000 people in the UK have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

MailOnline has approached the Swedish Migration Agency for comment.  

What is Alzheimer’s disease and how does it affect the body?  

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink.

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons have it.


As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost.

That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason.

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual.

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.


Loss of short-term memory


Behavioural changes

Mood swings

Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call


Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places

Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behaviour

Eventually lose ability to walk

May have problems eating

The majority will eventually need 24-hour care

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

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