Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, January 6, 2018
Two and a half years ago, Annette Junell and her husband Brett had an idea. They noticed many of their senior clients faced the same challenges, had the same questions, and shared similar fears about aging.
Why not create an environment to empower seniors and connect them with allies and experts who can help navigate decision-making?
And thus the Retired Living Truth Series – a monthly educational seminar series – was born. Today, each event draws large crowds. Many “regulars” have helped spread the word about the Retired Living Truth Series, underscoring its impact.
“It started with a simple idea and now feels like a movement,” said co-founder Brett Junell. “We started the Retired Living Truth Series in June 2016 with 20 people at our first seminar and it has grown to audiences with over 100 people.”
The seminars continue to be offered at no cost to seniors thanks to the help of 15 sponsors.
“The fact that people and the community have embraced the seminar series is humbling,” Annette Junell added.
In fact, so much so, OLLI at the University of Nevada, Reno invited the Junell’s to deliver 8 seminars this past year, based on their successful series, that were extremely well received.
The Retired Living Truth Series has become a community builder, a reason for seniors to gather with friends. It fills a need for seniors and brings experts and those seeking knowledge together.
“I’ve been almost every month for the past two years,” said Kimiko Crouse, a regular attendee.
She said she came out of curiosity and returned because she leaves with new knowledge and actionable tips every time. “It’s been very eye-opening,” Crouse said.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” added Paula Rigdon, another regular attendee. “We get to ask questions and knowing what resources are available has been very helpful.”
Rigdon said listening to the presenters and visiting with others who have gone through similar experiences has helped her evaluate her own retirement plans.
As the owners of Junell Moves Made Easy and Junell Realty Group’s Retired Moves Division with Keller Williams Group One, the Junells and a core group of like-minded professionals representing various industries, have made it their mission to educate and guide both consumers and professionals on best practices in retirement living.
The attendees appreciate the expertise, but they also come because they feel the series presents the information in an easy to understand, respectful manner.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” said Judy Maus, another regular. “The Junells with their panel discussions make us more knowledgeable and prepared as we age.”
“You are not here for a sales pitch,” her brother Frank Harnagel, another regular, added.
“Exactly!” Maus said. “They are here to help us and do so in a fun way.”
And that was the goal for the Junells and other sponsors.
“We bring in experts as panelists who ‘tell it like it is’ and don’t dance around hard to hear issues,” Junell said. “Our panelists are candid and are willing to share the good, bad, and ugly issues of aging and how to prepare. The goal is to give people credible resources for both late life relocations and aging in place. Either way, there is a lot to prepare for.”
“Yet many seniors have no idea what is available to them, how much it will cost, or the process for making all the pieces fit together,” added Laurie Leonard from Promenade on the River, one of the sponsors. “Beyond helping with immediate needs, our intention is to give individuals and families the direction and confidence, so they feel empowered when the time comes to make a major life decision.”
“The series continues to be education focused with no hidden agenda,” said attorney and sponsor, Richard Schulze of the Schulze Law Group.
“As industry professionals,” said Schulze, “we recognized consumers were at a huge disadvantage and we desired a way to empower older adults and their families with great information so they could make educated decisions. This program is a real blessing to our community and a significant life changer for many.”
However, beyond the educational mission, everyone involved is clearly excited about the community aspect.
“We have a lot of fun and have gotten to know the people who attend. They are like family,” Junell said. “This has not only happened to us, but also the attendees. They love to share their experiences and support each other as they go through their personal decision-making processes. There is a lot of kinship and support in the room every time.”
Northern Nevada area seniors are invited to join the 2019 series of candid conversations focused on the unique and complex senior living issues facing mature homeowners and families.
The topic for the next seminar on January 10, is “The Truth About Living to be 100” and will focus on the reality that very few seniors living to be 80, 90 or beyond have planned for. This will be an opportunity to get answers to important questions concerning successful third and fourth age living and lifestyles. Find out what every person over 65 should know about living to be 100.
The monthly seminars are held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 5650 Riggins Ct, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
Reservations can be made online at
or by calling 775-432-6398.
Pre-registration is requested to ensure
sufficient handouts. There is no cost for seniors to attend the seminars.
Other upcoming seminars in the Retired
Living Truth Series include:
- Feb 14: The Truth About Communicating with Adult Children
- Mar 21: The Truth About Choosing a Retired Living Community
- Apr 18: The Truth About Downsizing, Rightsizing & Simplifying
- May 16: The Truth About Dementia
- Jun 20: The Truth About Selling the Family Home
- Jul 18: The Truth About Living, Dying and Leaving a Legacy
- Aug 15: The Truth About Trusts, Wills and Guardianship