Realtor group shares senior housing, care tips in Palos

Local seniors received advice on estate planning, decluttering, preventing elder abuse, property taxes, housing resources for veterans, and navigating housing and care plans with loved ones on Saturday.

The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors hosted its Mainstreet Senior Expo in-person for the first time since 2019, which included nine dedicated seminars and a vendor fair at the Palos Heights Recreation Center.

“We’re trying to cover issues that will not only help the seniors, but their loved ones who will help them plan,” said Harriet Kubicz, chair of the Mainstreet Senior Services Committee. “We picked things that are important but that people don’t know where to start or what to do with them.”

All seminars were hosted by speakers from Mainstreet’s partner organizations and event providers.

The elder abuse seminar was hosted by Christine Saddreth, a community relations representative at Pathlights, formerly known as PLOWS, who co-hosted the fair.

“We are a social services organization for adults over 60 and adults over 18 with disabilities,” Saddreth said. “We believe the event brings valuable information to the community and we have connections with groups that people don’t necessarily know Mainstreet brings real estate knowledge, we bring other organizations.”

Pathlights also provides home meal delivery, home care services, financial support with applications and support groups for caregivers for seniors caring for children and family members caring for elderly relatives.

Other participating organizations included Medical and Insurance Organizations, Meals on Wheels, Legal Aid Chicago, Pace, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Senior Services.

While many of the attendees were seniors or adult children of seniors, several real estate agents were in attendance wanting to socialize, including Fathom Realty’s Lydia Perez-Twohui.

“I wanted to come and meet some of the providers that offer services to seniors. I want to be able to invite them to some of the seminars I host and put them in touch with my customers,” said Perez-Twohui. “It was very helpful. It’s good that there are groups that do things like this.”

Ramona Ruskuls, a principal at Mainstreet, said that to become a senior real estate agent, real estate agents must have compassion, patience and dedication to help complete transactions, which can be complicated with other relatives or loved ones involved.

“They need to have a sense of service about themselves and make the connections that their clients might need for home remodeling or estate planning,” she said.

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Ruskuls said 80 attendees turned up, and vendors were excited to be able to hold the event in person again after a two-year hiatus.

“The turnout was okay,” said Kubicz. “It wasn’t the biggest event we’ve ever had, but for our first year back in person it was pretty good.”

The community members present seemed to appreciate the information.

“I came because I get email notifications from Pathlights,” said participant Joan Fahey. “You were wonderful and helped my mother with lots of information. Can’t say enough about them so we came to see what else the event had to offer. It’s nice to see what’s being made available to the community. Even if we don’t use everything, you never know when someone you know might need it.”

Sophia Hanna said it was her first participation.

“There was a wealth of information that people shared,” Hanna said. “I liked the sessions in each room, especially the lecture on estate planning.”

Jessie Molloy is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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