Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, January 5, 2020
In June 2017, a group of about 20 people made their way to the South Valley Library expecting yet another bland seminar ending in a sales pitch. However, what this group of optimistic, learning-based senior adults experienced was something much different.
“The most surprising thing that happened was actually what didn’t happen – a sales pitch,” said Murl Williams. “There wasn’t one.”
“The presentation was straight forward, highly organized, and candid, offering far more than simply facts and features,” added Dede Hampel, who said she looks forward to the seminars each month.
Now, three and a half years later, the educational talks known as the Retired Living Truth Series continue to grow. With approximately 150 in attendance each month and having as many as 300, an additional afternoon time slot will be added this year to cater for more attendees when venue capacity is reached.
The 2020 calendar includes content designed to help retired “truth seekers” gain information about topics that are otherwise hard to research.
“Unfortunately information found on the internet, while a helpful starting point, is often designed to sell and sway opinions. For instance, if you want to learn more about senior living options and you google it, you are bombarded with ads and misinformation from a variety of places. It can be both confusing and frustrating,” said Brett Junell, the moderator and host of the series.
“The series has been good for attendees who are looking for honest and candid information,” he said.
So much so, the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno (OLLI/UNR) has had the Junell’s deliver similar seminars for the past two years, based on their successful Truth Series, which have been extremely well received.
Regular attendees to the series, Jan & Pete Johnson agree. “We didn’t know where to start. After attending the Truth Series, we met with several of the sponsors and toured a number of 55+ communities,” Jan Johnson said. “They were all very helpful. Now we feel both informed and equipped to move forward with our plans.”
The Retired Living Truth Seminar Series was inspired by Annette & Brett Junell, veteran real estate broker-salespersons. They noticed many of their senior clients faced the same challenges, had the same questions, and shared similar fears about aging.
The Junell’s wanted to help their clients and provide resources. However, they struggled to gather information about local services for seniors.
“It was extremely difficult for me, and I feel I am personally pretty tech savvy,” Annette Junell said. “I came across other professionals who felt the same way and who wanted to help make getting information easier and less intimidating. Many became sponsors and ambassadors of the series. It’s a group effort.”
The Retired Living Truth Seminar Series was created to have an environment that empowers seniors and connects them with experts and resources who can help navigate decision making.
While the series is the result of a team effort, sponsors point to Junell’s signature presentation style as integral in the overall growth of the program.
“Brett doesn’t hold back. He tells it like it is and ensures that everyone involved does the same,” said Richard Schulze, attorney for the Schulze Law Group.
Sponsors and panelists are held to strict standards. They are required to participate in pre-event orientations and regular seminar debriefings. They sign off on agreements about standards of conduct.
“I believe in education,” said Jodi Ray, Community Relations Director at Cascades of the Sierra. “My goal at Cascades of the Sierra is to educate everyone I talk to and to help them find the option that’s right for them. Sponsors of Retired Living Truth Seminar Series are not allowed to sell at the seminars. Since this method of education aligns with our values and goals, it just makes sense to support the Retired Living Truth Seminar Series.”
It isn’t surprising that the seminars tend to differ from the traditional approach. Annette Junell, a born Nevadan and long-time real estate agent specializing in retirement moves also holds a degree from the University of Nevada Reno in psychology and a master’s in psychology from University of the Pacific.
“As we found ourselves having more conversations with people making tough decisions late in life, we set out to gain knowledge that would empower and equip those we serve. The best way for us to do that is through offering free public seminars,” said Annette Junell.
January’s topic is “The Truth about Living a Long Healthy Life.” With the number of centenarians, people who are 100 years old or more, greatly on the rise, a whole range of questions come up for us as individuals and as a society. Rather than covering what attendees might expect on this topic, eating right, exercising, and so on, expert panelists will instead help attendees explore areas such as: what keeps us awake at night, what we avoid thinking about and what to do about it; challenges associated with living a long life; and the realities of what we can and cannot control.
Future monthly topics include dealing with legal and financial issues, healthcare, and downsizing, among others.
“The Truth about Living a Long Healthy Life” seminar will be held on January 14 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminar is free for seniors and their guests. Pre-registration is required because seating is limited.
Seat reservations can be made online
at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
This article is sponsored by Annette & Brett Junell in conjunction with the above sponsors.