real estate
Smooth Transitions helps seniors make move to living facilities

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer
Pasadena Star-News

SAN MARINO - Moving an aging parent into new living quarters can be a daunting task.

Seniors who have lived in a home or condo for many years often have accumulated a lifetime's worth of furniture, clothing, appliances, pictures and other assorted belongings.

And that's not counting important insurance papers, medical papers and heirlooms. For many families, the thought of sorting through all of that is ... well, challenging.

That's where Sheri Alford comes in.

Alford owns a business called Smooth Transitions of Southern California LLC. The San Marino-based company specializes in moving seniors, downsizing residences and liquidating estates.

"We can do as little or as much as they need," Alford said. "It's things families don't want to have to deal with. A lot of times family members live out of the area or they can't take off time from work to do it. In some cases we'll do everything, and other times it might just be consulting or coming up with a plan and a timeline."

Each and every situation is unique, and deciding what to take often creates a dilemma for families. The process of finding a mover, packing, moving, unpacking and getting rid of the leftovers can seem overwhelming.

But Smooth Transitions is designed to work clients through this challenging time and help seniors make a seamless transition into a new stage of life.


Sheri Alford owns Smooth Transitions of Southern California, a business that specializes in moving seniors, downsizing and estate liquidations. (Courtesy Photo)

"My background is in wedding coordinating, so I'm used to the whole idea of being the calm one while everyone else is worried about everything," Alford said. "I can be coordinating all the little logistics so the families can concentrate on the transition."
Alford said she often considers what pieces of furniture would be best for the new space, and she also makes sure that family heirlooms and other treasured pieces don't get lost and go to the right people.

Smooth Transitions can also change over utilities, donate leftovers, ship items to family members, haul away trash from the old residence and even stage a home for resale.

The price for services varies depending upon the amount of work, but Alford said it typically takes 45 to 60 hours to handle a four-bedroom home at a cost ranging from $2,700 to $3,600.

A smaller, one-bedroom home will usually take 10-15 hours with a price range of $600 to $900.

Alford helped her mother-in-law, Naciye Ucmakli, move from a three-bedroom home to a two-bedroom residence and finally to a room in Alford's home.

"She helped me quite a bit," Ucmakli said. "I'm 81 years old and I lost my husband. We'd been together 46 years and during that time you collect a lot of stuff. I think everyone needs someone like this when you move ... especially when you get old."

Smooth Transitions can handle a variety of duties during an estate liquidation.

Working under the direction of family members and attorneys or trust officers, the business organizes and distributes the estate according to the wishes of the deceased and the family members.

From simple sorting to arrangements for cleaning and repair work, this can relieve pressure during already trying times.

For more information, call 626-429-4408.

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©2001 SMOOTH TRANSITIONS™ • Illustrations ©1998 Carol L. Cornette