A MOVE: IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR – COMMUNICATION
A move is stressful enough whether it’s moving an aging parent, corporate relocation, or moving your child to college. Everyone has their own timing, method of organizing or not, waiting till the last minute and the burden of decisions on others shoulders.
My last several moves were with healthy parents, aging parents and corporate relocation. So many decisions were not discussed with family members and many of the decisions were on one person’s shoulders. As I learned from their experiences, that it is definitely a family dynamics of conversations and ideas way before a move is considered.
Each family especially with moving a parent whether they are healthy or not need to discuss these very important points.
- If the parent is moving should they live by one of their children?
- Considerations on city, will they be driving, or which adult child live near (reasons: grandchildren, power of attorney, weather, cost of living more adaptable)?
- Discussing taking the parent out of the home and community of 30 to 50 years. The aging parent’s fear of starting all over again, not having any friends at the new location, losing independence, fear that it’s their last home and where they will die, and the resentment of giving up “their stuff” to live in a smaller place, plus more.
- Should or could the parent live with the adult children? (Mother n law’s apt, apt garage, a room in the house)?
- What requests of the parent from the adult children and visa versa? (Babysitting for grandchildren, help pay rent, help cook or buy groceries)?
- If the parent is moving out of their family home will the parent pay for the moving costs or will the adult children help?
- Maybe the adult children have mentioned it to the parent(s) to move but it’s been an uneasy topic. How to approach the topic without angry and ill feelings.
- If the parent is moving, how much de-cluttering and downsizing will they have to do? Who will help with that process? Sometimes it’s left to the adult child locally and it becomes too much for them to handle. (angry and resentment sets in with no help from out of town siblings).
- Conversations on letting go of those sentimental items that represented a “family history” but take up room and clutter in the new place and clutter in their thoughts. Discussions on “the stuff” letting objects, cards, and paper go? What are other solutions?
These are just a few of the many thought provoking discussions a family should communicate together. As a senior move manager we observe and get involved in the mix of this confrontation on a daily basis. From our experience we highly recommend a master plan for discussing any and all moves. Usually one person has to be the leader to bring up sensitive points and issues within the family. Some families don’t have that person and that is when a mediator, experienced senior move manager, social worker, coach, or advisor needs to step in and lead the family to a proactive and positive discussion so the end result is happiness, joy and good health. Especially having those tough discussions on money.
As a side note: Individuals I have moved over the years from 74 to 98 years old, always mention after the move they wished they made the decision earlier. The process was the hard .
Rita Woll, Senior Move Manager