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6 Tips for When Global Relocation Separates You & Your Parents

6 Tips for When Global Relocation Separates You & Your Parents

Accepting a global relocation assignment is not a small decision. There are many changes and challenges to overcome. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges you face when moving to a new country is leaving friends and family behind. And if you have elderly parents, this may be the most difficult factor you consider when making the decision to accept the relocation. Below are a few tips on how to keep connected with your parents when you move to a new country and perhaps make the move a bit easier on both of you.

  1. Make a schedule to keep in touch. Before you leave your country and parents, sit down and create a schedule of when you will contact each other. For instance, you may say that you will call them every Monday evening at 6:00 p.m. their time. Having a set schedule will allow your parents to feel more secure and that you are not so far away.
  2. Use technology. Skype is a wonderful way to keep in touch with family back home, and you would be surprised at how easily your parents may learn to use it, even if you do not consider them “tech-savvy”. You can make phone calls through Skype and you can also do video calls, which may be especially important if you have children. It is always nice for grandparents to be able to see their grandchildren’s faces. If your parents are not able to learn the technology of Skype, enlist a family member or friend to help. If Skype just is not an option, use a mobile or land line phone instead. There are many inexpensive options for making international calls, but you may have to shop around. The important thing is finding the right method for both of you to keep in touch.
  3. Revert to using regular mail. Older generations are used to sending and receiving mail. While email is convenient, it is not always very personal. Invest in some postage and have your family send postcards, greeting cards, or even a hand-written letter to your parents. They will appreciate the effort.
  4. Keep back up funds for an emergency trip home. Setting aside funds to accommodate travel back home in an emergency will make everyone feel better. If something should happen to one of your parents, they will know that you are able to come help.
  5. Make them a priority. This may sound a bit overwhelming when you are dealing with a global relocation. One of the hardest situations for an elderly person to face is loneliness. By making them a priority and adhering to your schedule of calls or communication, you will both feel more at peace.
  6. Consider taking them with you. There is always the option of including them in your global move, and many expats do end up doing this. This is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Start a dialogue with your parents to see how they feel about it and remember to consider their opinion when making the final decision. For some families, they end up deciding that this is the best option, and they create a plan to make it happen.

Do not be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family that are still around your parents to make them feel loved and taken care of. Most of the time others are more than happy to help. For your part, keeping your parents as a priority and regularly communicating with them will go a long way in making sure everyone is happy with your decision to relocate.

Contribution by Jill Jassmann-Sharlock.

Jill is an IMPACT Group Global Research and Projects Team Lead who focuses on the unique information needs of global transferees. She also serves as IMPACT Group’s Global myIMPACT Specialist, managing content for our global job search and career portal.

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