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Volume XXX
Spring 2017

Our Generation

Senior Living Truth Series

by Connie McMullen

Helping Boomers With Mid-Life Decisions

Boomers looking to make a lifestyle change after raising a family or retiring from a lifelong career often have questions on how to get started. Should they sell the family home, get rid of collectibles and long kept mementoes, and where to relocate to accommodate physical abilities? These very important decisions are all too often emotional, overwhelming and confusing. Forget the energy needed to pack up the house and physically move belongings, how to get started is extremely daunting especially over age 50.

Annette & Brett Junell at the recent Downsizing Made Easy seminar
Annette & Brett Junell at the recent Downsizing Made Easy seminar with panelists Sharon Allen of Age Wise Relocation, Sarah Feliz of Put it in Order and Patti Thaheld who provides Estate Appraisal and Liquidation services.

Brett and Annette Junell, Certified Senior Housing Professionals with Keller Williams Group One, decided to get answers to some of those questions when they noticed many of their senior clients needed assistance apart from buying or selling a home. The Junell’s, licensed in both California and Nevada, recognized that working with older adults required a little more patience. “They took longer to make decisions because they didn’t know what to do with their belongings, those decisions held them back,” said Annette. “Many also had questions about what resources were available in the community. We wanted to help eliminate some of those barriers.”

Annette, who is originally from Nevada, relocated with her family from California back to Reno a year and a half ago. The Junell’s noted that there was less awareness about the resources available in the Silver State, making things more difficult for people looking to make changes mid-life. “We know what is out there and will work with people,” Annette said. “We offer a full package of services, a one-stop-shop to help clientele.”

Focused on seniors and boomers, the Junell’s began the “Senior Living Truth Series” in the Reno-Sparks area nine months ago. The Truth Series offers different topics with a panel of experts every month. “We cover topics such as in-home help, changes to make the home more livable and accessible, downsizing and other options,” explained Annette.

Over 300 people have registered for the seminars over the past 8 sessions. Nearly 70 percent are new faces, but many are returning with friends to hear other topics. People have questions about what to do with belongings, how and what to get rid of, reverse mortgages and equity tied in the home. Topics for the series are often generated by questions people ask during seminars. “Oftentimes people are looking to sell because the home they are living in is not safe anymore. We can help with those changes so they can stay in their home as long as possible,” Brett said.

Other topics have included trusts and living wills, the hardships those things can create if not done correctly. “We also get lots of feedback for future topics,” said Annette. “Downsizing has brought in the most people. Many have difficulty making those decisions. They are worried about getting rid of things they do not know the value of.” Annette said one of the panelist is an appraiser, helping people understand the value of an item, what they should keep or get rid of.

The Junell’s do not physically help people relocate, but navigate resources and assistance. “We help people plan ahead. It takes time but when the time comes it is not as difficult for them.”

Another area that is problematic involves family. “A senior will want to downsize but there is an adult child living with them that refuses to move on.” The Junell’s had two cases in the past year where an adult child was taking advantage of the parent, using their resources when the parent wanted to downsize and move. “Many families, however, are pretty terrific and want to help.”

Attendees listen to panelists speak on Downsizing Made Easy
Attendees listen to panelists speak on Downsizing Made Easy at a recent seminar held at the Sierra View Library in Reno.

The Senior Living Truth Series is designed to assist people with questions. No sales occur at the sessions, which have been attended by as many as 60 people on average. “We really enjoy people telling us how the information from the seminar’s have helped them make a decision.” Panelist involved in the seminars are selected very carefully. “We sit down and talk to them to find out if they genuinely want to help people,” Brett said

The Senior Living Truth Series is held at the Sierra View Library, located in the Reno Town Mall, at 4001 S. Virginia, in Reno. It is easily accessible by the RTC bus and has plenty of parking. To reserve a seat, call (775) 432-6398 or register online at

“We are always looking to know how we can fill the gaps in resources available,” said Annette. “If we do not have answers we find them.”

Annette was born in Reno. The move back home gave the Junell’s an opportunity to raise their 9-year-old son close to grandparents, which they see on a regular basis.