Society is more mobile than ever. Families change due to divorce. Children grow up and move away or at least into their own place. Parents age. Mom or Dad may become too frail to keep the family home. Alternately, without the responsibility of children or a job, your parents may decide to sell everything and take off for parts unknown. Additionally, selling a larger home and moving to a smaller place can have real economic advantages for a retiring couple. Whether they are newly divorced and heading off to new homes or newly retired and heading off to new adventures, it is hard when parents move.
Talk about your feelings. You may feel excited about new opportunities for both you and your parents. You may feel a little grief at the loss of a familiar home. Even if you haven’t lived in the home for some time, your parents may still be selling the house you grew up in. This can be difficult for even some adult children. You may even feel a combination of emotions. Talking them out with a trusted friend or family member is a good way to sort out your feelings.
Explore their new home. Whether your parents are retiring to a warm climate or taking off in an RV, explore their plans together. Check out maps of the area. Look for grocery stores, pharmacies and other necessary services in the area. Look at pictures of the new home and city. This helps you imagine your parents in a happy and comfortable place.
Help clean out the current home. It can be a daunting task just trying to separate the trash from the treasure. Consider hiring an appraisal expert for the day just to go through the house and tell you which items are vintage and which are just plain old. Talk to your parents about any items that might hold sentimental value for you. Finally, invite your siblings to help your parents by taking a day to work together to clean out the old home.
Keep in touch with your parents but recognize that the relationship may change. Long distance relationships can become more formal. Because of distance, visits just aren’t as spontaneous as they once were. But the good news is that today keeping in touch can be so much more than just a weekly phone call. Email, video calls, social networks and even texts can keep you and your parents in touch. However, even with all the high tech ways to keep in touch, your parents will probably still appreciate a card in the mail from time to time.
In the case of divorce, try to separate your feelings about the divorce from your feelings about moving. This may help you deal with each one without getting overwhelmed.
If a parent is moving because of mental or health issues, be sure to contact your parent’s lawyer or executor before making any financial decisions on their behalf.