far. . .
We were lucky for the following reasons:
1. My mil only lived an hour down the interstate.
2. The place that she moved into recommended wonderful movers who were worth every penny that she paid them.
What we did not do right-
1. Make our own check list of things that she would need. As she had spent a weekend having her sister and a cousin help her with packing we did not check to see that a few dishes were packed along with silverware and a coffee mug and glasses. That may seem like a duh moment but it wasn't.
What we did do right -
1. The first thing that I did on entering the house yesterday was take a bunch of family photos off of the wall to take with us. There were protests from my mil as she did not want to take anything personal. If I had not packed those few items her entertainment center would be bare. After getting to the apartment she was more than pleased and thanked me for bringing them.
2. Had a drawing of where every piece of furniture was to go. It wasn't perfect but close and made life much easier.
As her old house is not up for sale or rent yet we have awhile to get items out of the house so we can bring up more decorative items to make the place more homey.
For a relative that lives far away I would make a list based on where they were moving to, what possessions that they loved and make sure to bring those family photos. Add to the list anything from their past that is a conversation piece. In their new home they will meet new friends and you want to have anything interesting that will promote conversation and sociability.