Originally posted by News OK.
In January 2016, a group of about 40 people made their way to the Northwest 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 Oliver Delaney. “There wasn’t one.”
“The presentation was straight forward, highly organized, and candid, offering far more than simply facts and features, added Joy Jones, who at 92 years old said she looks forward to the seminars each month and only missed one last year.
Now, three years later, the educational talks known as the Senior Living Truth Series continue to grow. With nearly 200 in attendance each month, a new venue has been added serving homeowners living in the south metro area.
“We chose the Moore-Norman Technology Center as our south location because several residents from Moore, Norman, Mustang, and the Tri-City areas have expressed an interest in attending but prefer not to drive so far north,” said Chris Buckelew, one of the main organizers of the events.
The 2019 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 Nikki Buckelew, the moderator and host of the series.
“The series has been good for attendees who are looking for honest and candid information,” she said.
Regular attendees to the series, Pat and Debra Lynch of Nichols Hills, agree with her.
“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,” Pat Lynch said. “They were all very helpful. Now we feel both informed and equipped to move forward with our plans.”
The Senior Living Truth Series, referred to by organizers as simply SLTS, was inspired by Nikki Buckelew, a veteran real estate broker, after experiencing her own struggle to gather information about local services for seniors.
“It was extremely difficult for me, and I feel I am personally pretty tech savvy,” Buckelew 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.”
While the series is the result of a team effort, sponsors point to Buckelew’s signature presentation style as integral in the overall growth of the program.
“Nikki doesn’t hold back. She tells it like it is and ensures that everyone involved does the same. There is no gray area. It’s either complete truth or nothing to be said at all,” said Julie Davis, marketing director for Concordia Life Care Community.
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 Jill Huff, marketing director at Spanish Cove Retirement Village. “My goal at Spanish Cove is to educate everyone I talk to and to help them find the option that’s right for them. Sponsors of SLTS 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 SLTS.”
It isn’t surprising that the seminars tend to differ from the traditional approach. Buckelew, a long-time Oklahoma real estate agent specializing in retirement moves, also holds a degree from Southern Nazarene University in gerontology and recently completed her doctorate in psychology from Northcentral University.
“I chose to get a doctorate to deepen my understanding of the issues our clients face,” Buckelew said. “As I found myself having more conversations with people making tough decisions late in life, I set out to gain knowledge that would empower and equip those I serve. The best way for me to do that is through offering free public seminars.”
January’s topic is “The Truth about Retirement Communities.” Here attendees will get an inside perspective about various senior living options, as well as best practices for touring, selecting, and moving to a senior living community.
“While we have done similar talks to this one before, on January 10 and January 22 we are going to really dive deep into the world of senior living, debunk some myths, and expose some little known truths about the industry,” Buckelew said. Both sessions begin at 10 a.m.
Future monthly topics include dealing with legal and financial issues, healthcare, estate liquidation, and downsizing, among others.
Pre-registration is required to attend due to limited seating and can be done online at seniorlivingtruthseries.com or by calling 405-563-7501.
This article is sponsored by Concordia Life Care Community and Spanish Cove Retirement Village.