Step 2 – Communicate with Family and Friends
The Family Meeting
As you begin to contemplate a move, a family meeting can be a great way to involve adult children, grandchildren, and family friends in the process. Bringing key people in your life together to discuss your plans can be one way to help everyone deal with the emotional challenges involved in a move from a long established home.
Why have a family meeting?
Bringing family members and close friends together to help plan for a move is a useful strategy. The benefits of a family meeting include:
- Informing key people about your relocation plans
- Generating ideas and sharing emotions
- Bolstering support during the move for a caregiver or someone with an illness
- Inviting participation in moving tasks
- Reminiscing about memories from the home or the items to be liquidated
- Distribution of household items and family heirlooms
- Completion of necessary legal documentation (power of attorney, signatures on deed, etc,)
Agenda items to include in a family meeting:
- Plans related to an upcoming move (when and where)
- Reasons for the move
- Feelings about the move—both yours and those of family members
- Participation of family members during the downsizing process
- Liquidation of family heirlooms and sentimental items
- Concerns that you or family members may have about the move
- Reminiscing about fun and memorable times in the family home
- Completion of (or sharing location of) legal documents
For families who may be scattered around the country, it’s a good idea to plan for a meeting during a holiday or special event, when distant family members will be in town. If it’s not possible to have everyone together at one time, try having two meetings and then sharing information via e-mail or written notes.
Unfortunately, not all families get along well enough to have a productive and amicable family meeting. Under such circumstances, it may be beneficial to have a family mediator or a trusted and respected family friend lead the meeting.
For those who prefer foregoing a family meeting, or who feel they would prefer conveying their decisions in writing, a sample letter is provided on the pages following, suggesting another way for you to community your wishes with family members and/or close friends.
Sample Letter: Sample Letter to Family (PDF) (click link to view)