Lewes woman opens Smooth Transitions Delaware to manage moves for seniors

March 17, 2018

For Janet Sydnor of Lewes, helping her mother close her father's beloved river house following his death was an emotional, difficult, six weeks of sorting, packing, tossing and selling. Items had been collected over decades and stored throughout the nooks and crannies of a house, boat barn, crab shack and two sheds. That experience spurred Sydnor to start Smooth Transitions Delaware, a senior move-management business.

Smooth Transitions Delaware fills a local need for move coordination, downsizing assistance and estate dispersal for many seniors and their adult children.

At the National Association of Senior Move Managers conference, Sydnor noticed that every member had a personal story of helping a parent or grandparent move. She also met compassionate senior move-management professionals and learned a wealth of strategies for helping clients and their families.

A session on family dynamics was particularly insightful. Taught by senior relocation expert Marie-Claude Giguère, author of "Stay or Move?" the session taught attendees to listen for the underlying tensions and concerns that families may be facing regarding a move. The conversations among family members have likely been going on for a couple of years before a senior move manager is called upon to help facilitate the move.

Adult children may be emotionally tied to the home they grew up in, or have difficulty accepting that their parents are growing less capable of managing their large home. After years of doing it themselves, parents may fear a real loss of autonomy if they move into a community that provides services they feel they should do on their own.

Giguère suggested asking some questions to find out what seniors love about their current homes and what they would be happy to leave behind. Asking the children to put themselves in their parent's shoes and imagine what each day is like for Mom or Dad could help them understand that their parents might feel relieved if they no longer had to worry about tasks like cooking, lawn care or repairs, and might also be able to make new friends.

Families and professionals can respond in many ways to the possibility of a move for senior loved ones. The strategies of listening and asking questions to defuse tension can be applied to many situations.

Sydnor imagines that having a professional senior move manager present during the cleanout of the river house would have made a positive impact. Now she is proud to be one. For more information, go to, call 302-273-0303 or email