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Plan ahead: Seminars on aging help seniors and their families prepare for the future

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Since the very start of Nancy Puder's successful 40-plus-year career in real estate, she's had a special relationship with senior clients.

"They're attracted to me, and I'm attracted to them," Puder told New Times. "I'm not sure why. I've always connected with older people."

Over the course of those years working with the older clientele, Puder said she's observed the full spectrum of crises that so often precede seniors and their families needing her services.

"I just continually found myself in situations where people called me to sell a house because their parents or an aunt or uncle had just fallen, or just passed away, or had dementia," she explained. "All of a sudden, some event happened where it became necessary for the house to be sold. By the time they called me, I would walk into total chaos."

Time after time, Puder said she saw families enter that moment unprepared, uninformed, and ill-equipped, reactively Googling for answers to make "crisis-driven decisions" instead of "knowledge-driven decisions," as she calls them.

"I used to wonder, where are the people to help these people?" Puder said. "There is just such a huge need out there and no one is giving them the answers they need."

In late 2018, while pondering the future of her real estate business, Puder decided that she should help fill that need in the community. After taking an intensive hands-on course provided by the Senior Real Estate Institute, an organization based in Oklahoma City, Puder launched her own series of local seminars on aging, Sea Coast Seniors, in 2019. The popular monthly seminars—which are free to attend, just RSVP at seacoastseniors.org—are back in 2020.

"Every seminar is an entirely different topic," Puder explained. "I bring in experts in their fields."

The next installment in the series is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. in the Hilton Garden Inn in Pismo Beach. Its subject is "The Truth About Living, Dying and Leaving a Legacy."

"I have an estate attorney, hospice, a mortuary," Puder said of the lineup, "somebody from SLO Village, a way to actively live in your home and stay healthy and strong, and have the services you need, without having to pay a lot of money."

Other upcoming topics include "The Truth About Living to Be 100" (March 12); "The Truth About Paying for Retirement Living" (April 9); "The Truth About Dementia and Memory Care" (May 14); and "The Truth About Hospice and Palliative Care" (June 11).

In putting on the seminars, Puder said she takes absolutely no income and that "there's never a sales pitch" for her or others' professional services.

"Once they get to know me, they know I care about them," she said of the participants. "This is definitely a love gift."

While she said attendees sometimes enter the seminars in a state of denial about the realities of aging, the seminars help open their minds to new circumstances and solutions that can make the transitions in their golden years more joyful and graceful overall.

"I ask them [about death], and they'll say, 'You'll have to carry me out in a box.' I hear that 100 times in a week," Puder said. "I say 'Yes, but what's your Plan B?' ... Information can only help."

Fast facts

• Cuesta College has opened its new Data Center, which centralizes many of the college's IT systems, "making access to the internet faster, more reliable, and making the college cloud-ready with enhanced connectivity," according to a press release. The facility was funded through Measure L, the $275 million bond measure approved by SLO County voters in 2014.

The South County Advisory Council is seeking candidates to fill 13 open positions in an election on March 16. The council's purpose is to advise the SLO County Board of Supervisors on South County issues. It's composed of two representatives from seven geographical areas of South County, as well as two at-large positions for agriculture and public safety. Interested candidates can submit their applications until March 9. Visit scac.ca.gov for more information about the council, election, and candidate applications.

• SLO County is now accepting applications for "beautification projects" that can receive grant funding to complete. With $90,000 made available, the county is looking for one-time projects that will "enhance the cultural, environmental, recreational, or historical resources in SLO County's unincorporated areas," according to a press release. Community members have until March 19 to apply for a grant. Call (805)-781-5011 for more information. Δ

Assistant Editor Peter Johnson wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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