Helping care for her grandfather who experienced memory loss inspired Chakeya Jenkins to pursue a career in senior healthcare. Since then, however, she’s broadened her reach to play an important role when older adults assess the benefits of independent and assisted living options in senior living communities in the Chicago area. Her dedication to helping seniors ascertain what’s best for them landed her a position as sales manager for Montgomery Place, a life plan community at 5550 South Shore Avenue in Hyde Park.
Since she joined Montgomery Place in August 2017, Jenkins and her sales team have invited prospective residents to “dine and discover” luncheons hosted by Montgomery Place resident ambassadors. Approximately 25 independent living residents have volunteered to join these and other marketing events to answer questions, Jenkins said. Resident ambassadors also vet topics for popular marketing events for larger groups and join guests for lunch.
“Our current residents are vital to our ability to attract new members of our community,” explained Jenkins. “People interested in Montgomery Place know they’ll get a direct and candid response. Our community is unique because residents plan their own activities program. At the luncheons, they share specific information about a wide variety of enriching activities they plan and amenities they enjoy.” Onsite concerts, lectures and movie screenings; field trips to plays, concerts and local attractions; classes in Montgomery Place’s art studio, craft workshop, garden and greenhouse are some of the most popular. Resident ambassadors also point out many special places on the campus, including the chapel, library, lobby, indoor pool, rooftop gardens and community meeting hall. And, they champion having a voice in dining programs and outreach efforts supporting the arts and education in the local community.
“Chakeya has dedicated her entire career to serving seniors,” said Deborah Hart, chief executive officer of Montgomery Place. “Caring for her grandfather personalized her sense of mission. Since she joined the staff of Montgomery Place last fall, she’s applied her 18 years of experience in the senior living field including six years in marketing. And, Chakeya definitely has enhanced the talent pool for our leadership team.”
“Helping care for my grandfather, taught me how much elders enrich our lives, but it also showed me that self-determination doesn’t have to stop with advanced age or even memory loss,” said Jenkins, who grew up in Skokie. “The greatest misconception many older adults have is that moving into a retirement community means giving up independence. Quite the contrary, I see how Montgomery Place residents experience the freedom to pursue personal interests with less dependence on family members. Our goal is to assist seniors as they plan for their future—not tell them what’s right for them. Our job is to make sure they know their options in this very personal process.”
Jenkins maintains affiliations with Illinois Continuity of Care Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Aging Life Care Association. Her priorities for 2018 include building lasting relationships with older adults living in Hyde Park and surrounding communities.
Montgomery Place Sales Manager