Mom and Bill’s long-distance move from Florida to Chicago taught me numerous invaluable family-caregiving lessons which I wrote about in twenty-four blogs. I’d like to share with you the highlights of what I learned in the hopes that you can bypass some of the unexpected twists and turns of the aging parent relocation process.
- Once the decision is made to sell the house and move, initial thoughts of what lies ahead will be an incredibly stressful stage – for both you and your parents. Knowing this ahead of time can help avert unnecessary emotional outbursts on your part. Their ranting and raving is not going to change the fact that the decision is made that they are moving. Sit quiet and let them blow off steam.
- Your parents may become temporarily forgetful and disoriented as well as increasingly physically exhausted in the initial stage of the moving process. Keep going at a realistic pace, and offer emotional encouragement.
- EVERY decision – big and little – is overwhelming to your parents at this time. Keep this in mind when your expectations don’t match their decision-making process.
- One of your parents may decide to “quit” the move altogether and resist helping with decisions, packing and sorting household items. In this case, keep your eye on the parent who remains focused on the move, and make sure he/she has plenty of help from others. Does your real estate agent know people who can help with sorting and packing? The resistant parent may eventually come around again.
- Ask the real estate agent to send you copies of all house-sale agreements and documents. Ask your parents not to sign anything until you review the legalities and have your questions answered.
- Keep the trust level high between you and your parents by keeping them in the driver’s seat as much as possible. The more questions you ask (rather than make statements and offer advice), the better. Our role is to facilitate the move.
- During the initial stage of the move process try to initiate conversations about the new lifestyle they can anticipate once they are on the other side of the move. This will help remind them of why they are moving in the first place.