When Mom and Dad Decide to Move

During a phone call with Mom, she mentioned that she and Dad were thinking about selling their house. They've lived in that house for 40 years, and it was your childhood home. But now that they're getting older, the extra space is no longer needed and stairs are harder to navigate.

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You and your wife Susan moved to Pennsylvania after you got a new job six years ago. The distance hasn't been easy to travel, but your parents always visited twice a year. Once your daughter Harriet was born, Mom started to wish that they lived closer. Now she and Dad have decided to move outside of Philadelphia so they can be closer to you.

While you're excited to have your parents closer to you and your family, the idea of them moving across the country is daunting. However, with careful planning and help from experts, the move doesn't have to be.

First Steps


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Start looking into the real estate market near you. Engaging a local realtor on behalf of your parents will help make the process easier. Encourage your parents to look online for places up for sale. When Mom sees a home she likes, you can check out the open house for her. When you're at the open house, take lots of pictures. You can send these in an email to Mom along with all the details about the property.

Sit down with your parents and plan a moving budget. Dad may have plenty of funds in his retirement account, but be realistic about the moving costs. Set aside enough money for the movers, plane tickets, and other fees. A budget will help to narrow down the house hunt too. Once Mom and Dad decide if they want a 1 or 2-bedroom house or apartment, you can adjust the search accordingly.

Set a timeline. When are Mom and Dad trying to move by? Is it easier to move them in Summer or in Fall? Make sure to set days of “wiggle room” in case something comes up.

Finally, help Mom and Dad find a realtor for their old house in Oregon. While you're going to miss your childhood home, you know it's the best decision for them to sell the house. Help make the process easier by making sure they have a reliable agent to market their home.

Don't Forget About Boxes


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Moving is a big deal. Be ready to take time off of work to travel back to Oregon to help prepare your parents for moving. Mom will appreciate you being there to help. Your presence will be emotional support for them, especially when it's time to go through all the family memories. Bring an extra suitcase to pack any of your childhood items that you want to take home with you.

When you're there, hold a yard sale over the weekend to help Mom and Dad downsize. Items like garden tools, appliances, extra furniture, and unused holiday gifts are the perfect things to put out. Anything that doesn't sell at the yard sale can be donated to a local thrift store.

Determine how your parent’s things will be moved. Will Mom and Dad get a moving truck for their stuff? Did they decide to rent those moving 'pods' instead? Moving companies have different processes for picking-up and dropping-off belongings. Shop around until they find a company that they like and can afford.


Open Your Home


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Once Mom and Dad are ready to move across the country, keep your guest room ready. If any unforeseen events delay moving into their new home, they will appreciate staying with family over a hotel. And in case the delays with their new home take longer than anticipated, they'll have a safe place to be. When their belongings arrive from the movers, plan on being available to help with all the unpacking.

After Mom and Dad get settled in their new home, encourage them to go out on the town and make new friends. Put together a folder ahead of time filled with fun things to do in the area. Include information on the local senior center and gym, museums and parks.

Moving is hard on friendships. Mom and Dad will miss the social circles and friends they had back in Oregon. Encouraging them to stay busy will help to fill the space, and bring new friends into their lives.

Spend Time Together

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Now that Mom and Dad are half an hour away, set aside time each week to see them. Schedule family dinners on Friday night, and fun outings on the weekend. Your parents can also help get your daughter Harriet ready for school, and babysit her during the week so you and your wife Susan can have a night off. And you'll be able to support Mom and Dad as they ease into their golden years. Be ready to share plenty of years filled with sunshine, smiles, and laughter.