Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, January 28, 2018
Eighteen months ago, real estate veterans Brett Junell and his wife Annette had an idea. As specialized senior living realtors, they noticed many of their clients faced the same challenges, had the same questions, and shared similar fears about aging.
Why not create a community to empower seniors to live their post-retirement years on their own terms?
And thus the Retired Living Truth Series – a monthly educational seminar series – was born. Today, each event draws large crowds and a tight-knit group of committed sponsors. Many “regulars” have helped spread the word about the Retired Truth brand, underscoring its impact.
“It hatched from a simple idea and now feels like a movement,” said founder Brett Junell. “We started the Retired Living Truth Series in June 2016 and have gone from 20 people at our first one to consistent audiences nearing 70 people. This year we changed our venue due to capacity issues.”
There are now 10 regular sponsors supporting the events so they can continue to be offered at no cost to seniors.
“The fact that people have embraced this series is beautiful and humbling,” Annette Junell added. The Retired Living Truth Series has become a community builder, an excuse for seniors to gather with friends. It fills a need for seniors and brings experts and consumers together on an even playing field.
“I’ve been here every month for the past year,” said Kimiko Crouse, a regular attendee. She said she came out of curiosity and returned because she leaves with actionable tips every time. What senior living options are available and which ones make sense for her? What policies and benefits is she signed up for and what needs to be updated? Does her financial planning align with how she wants to live life?
“It’s been very eye-opening,” Crouse said.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” added Verne & Paula Rigdon, regular attendees. “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 them evaluate their own retirement plans and whether they should sell their home or stay in place. “They helped us learn and understand our options. That’s very important.”
As the owners of Junell Realty Group with Keller Williams Group One, the Junells and a core group of like-minded professionals representing various industries, 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.
“He makes it so you can understand everything,” said Judy Maus, another regular. “You are not here for a sales pitch,” her brother Frank Harnagel, another regular, added.
“Exactly!” Maus said. “They are here for us.”
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 relocation’s 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, another 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 sponsor, Ryan Hart of Amada Senior Care. “As industry professionals,” said Hart, “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 game 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.”
Reno, Sparks and Carson City seniors are invited to join the 2018 series of candid conversations focused on the unique and complex senior living issues facing mature homeowners and their families.
The next seminar is scheduled for February 1st from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall). February’s topic, “The Truth About 55+ Retired Living Options” will cover locations, amenities, and costs for both purchase and rent options for those 55 and older.
– March’s event will focus on “The Truth About Decluttering Your Home”.
– April is “The Truth About Preparing to Downsize”.
– May is “The Truth About Paying for Retired Living”.
– June is on “The Truth About Aging in the ‘Right’ Place”.
– July through December seminar details can be found on the web site below. There is no cost to attend the seminars.
Reservations can be made online at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling 775-432-6398. Pre-registration is requested.