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Ryan's Story

Ryan, a 27-year-old young professional based in Atlanta, found his life taking an unexpected turn when his mother, Patti, suffered a massive stroke just three weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer. It was December 2019 when a life-altering phone call pulled him to Indiana, where he rushed to his mother's side in the ICU, followed by a prolonged stay in acute rehab.

Meanwhile, his stepfather was undergoing recovery from colon cancer surgery in a different hospital. In the midst of this crisis, Ryan was entrusted with the responsibility of becoming his mother's legal guardian, a task he swiftly accomplished within the 30-day window with the assistance of an elder attorney in Indiana. However, there was no prior plan in place for such emergencies - no living will, no advanced directives, not even a list of essential usernames and passwords.

With their home in a state of hoarding and unsuitable for their return, Ryan, after exhausting days at the rehab hospital, dedicated his evenings to purging their belongings to ensure a safe environment for their eventual homecoming. During this turbulent period, Ryan received the sobering news from his mother's oncologist that she had been given a prognosis of six months to a year to live with her lung cancer diagnosis. However, defying the odds, his mother is still with them today, four years later. Instead of relocating her back home, Ryan made the decision to move to Phoenix, AZ, to be close to his mother's sisters, providing a crucial support system during this challenging time.

In Phoenix, Ryan worked tirelessly with a team of therapists to help his mother regain her independence, preparing her for the impending chemotherapy treatments. As the pandemic loomed, chemotherapy commenced in March 2020, with Ryan faithfully accompanying his mother through each grueling session, masked for hours on end.

Despite his efforts, his mother never fully regained her ability to speak after the stroke. Concerned for her well-being amidst the pandemic, Ryan made the difficult choice to transition her out of the assisted living community in May 2020, becoming her full-time caregiver and relocating her to his aunt's house. Recognizing the need to reclaim a sense of normalcy in his own life, Ryan made the decision to move back to Atlanta in January 2021, with his husband, Michael. They ensured his mother's living space was meticulously set up for her independence and comfort, equipped with all the necessities.


In August 2021, Ryan made the decision to move his mom into a nursing home to ensure she received around-the-clock care provided by professionals. He has since enlisted the help of an elder attorney in Atlanta to assist with the Medicaid application process. Concurrently, Ryan has been working with the attorney in Indiana, who filed for legal guardianship of his mother's estate, following the passing of his stepfather in February 2022.

Upon discovering that his mother was still listed on the title after his stepfather's death, Ryan took on the responsibility of traveling to Indiana to assess the home and initiate the selling process. Fortunately, he had a supportive network of friends in Indiana from college, one of whom was a very helpful REALTOR. With his assistance, Ryan successfully sold his mother's home, easing the burden during a challenging period.

However, as his mother's health continued to decline, Ryan found himself transitioning from caregiver to real estate professional, obtaining his license in August 2021. Inspired by his personal experiences, he resolved to specialize in working with seniors, a testament to the profound impact his mother had on his life. Ryan decided to advance his expertise by obtaining the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation. Reflecting on his journey, Ryan credits his mother for instilling in him a strong work ethic and moral compass, values that have guided him through life's challenges. Despite the hardships, Ryan's first year in real estate was a success, with notable achievements in sales volume. In his second year in real estate, achieving #2 for individual units and #3 for individual volume sold in 2023 was a significant breakthrough, and he feels very honored by the recognition.

Through it all, Ryan remains grateful for the lessons his mother imparted, even in her silence. His experience underscores the importance of having difficult conversations and planning for the unexpected, lessons that have brought his family closer together. And to his mother, Ryan expresses profound gratitude for the enduring legacy of love and resilience she has bestowed upon him. As a compassionate guide, he offers clarity and support to facilitate a seamless transition during life’s pivotal moments. When uncertainty clouds your path, don’t hesitate to reach out - Ryan's here to help you navigate the journey!

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