Jen Riesenberger, Director of Sales for The Lakeside at Amelia Island, addresses some common senior living misconceptions, and shares considerations for finding the right senior living community. 

Video Transcript

- Well, hey everybody. Welcome to "Senior Living Live." My name is Chris and I am your host today. And I'm joined here with Jen, the director of sales at The Lakeside at Amelia Island. How you doing Jen?

- Good, thank you for having me.

- Yeah absolutely, thanks for taking time outta your day of touring people through the community to join us. So we are on location for several shows. This is kind of wrapping up the shows that we shot here at The Lakeside at Amelia Island in Northeast Florida. And it's a beautiful community. This community's got assisted living, and independent living, memory care, cottages, houses, you name it. And so we are just so happy to be here. We're in a model apartment right now. It's a nice quiet place for us to set up and I could not think of a better atmosphere to be this comfortable, couches and everything. So Jen, thanks for joining us today, again. Tell us a little bit about you and how long have you worked here? What led you to come into The Lakeside?

- So I've been at The Lakeside now about two years and never planned on my journey leading me to senior living. But when my kids were little, I did a Meals on Wheels route with them so that they would learn about service and giving back to the community. And that led to when my youngest went to kindergarten, me taking on a term of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, which is Domestic Peace Corps running a senior center. And then that spiraled into being recruited to work for senior living and I've been doing it ever since.

- I feel like so many people in the industry it's just like, "One thing led to another and here we are, and I'm never gonna leave again." It's like one thing leads to another and then you stay, you stay in senior living.

- That's right.

- So tell us a little bit about your role as the director of sales. What are you responsible for here?

- I'm responsible for making people fall in love with The Lakeside and choosing it as their next home.

- It's easy to do.

- Absolutely.

- I don't want to trivialize, but it's such a beautiful community.

- So I'm showing people the community at large, touring them on the campus, chatting with them on the phone, answering questions.

- Yeah, well, you mentioned questions. What are some of the common questions that people have when they're shopping for senior living?

- A lot of people don't have an understanding of the senior living model, what that looks like for them, how they move through the process, or the continuum that exists on the campus. So they have questions about that. Questions about the options within each phase. Here at The Lakeside, we have homes, cottages, and apartments, and that confuses people. What does that mean? How do I choose? What do I pick? And then where do I go from there? If I'm aging in place, do I move out of this unit to another? So questions about the movement through the--

- Very specific to their, to kind of what it's like and things. And we were just talking before we went on the air about how people don't necessarily have experience with shopping for senior living as they might, you know, shopping for just a regular house, for example. And so it's important to have people like you in the role to kind of shepherd them and take them through that process. What do you think is a common misconception maybe in senior living?

- I think people have an idea in their head based on when they visited their great-grandmother many years ago, and are often very surprised. Usually when I tour people and I open an apartment door that, "Oh my goodness, I had no idea! I could totally live here." And the adult children are saying, "Oh my goodness, I could totally live here." So they're surprised by the luxury of what we have as living options. And it totally against the vision that they have of some old school nursing home kind of concept.

- People are kind of expecting that hospital vibe--

- I think so.

- Maybe a little bit--

- Of a clinical setting, which is not at all. It's very homey.

- And we are here, I mean, we are in a model apartment. This is an actual apartment that is, you know, it is for sale for anyone who wants to come. And so I know that there are communities that have, you talked about sort of the models, there's sort of like the buy-in model where you pay a large sum of money and that's not what this community is. What makes this community different from that?

- So we're a rental, so you're renting from us month to month and you're not investing a huge amount of your own money at the front end.

- And then it's, you can move out if you need to, if your needs change or something. So it's not like you've made this huge investment and you've got money tied up.

- Correct.

- You can step away from that. And I think that's an important distinction. It's of course a financial decision for people to make.

- Absolutely. You keep your money invested as you wish and you just pay us monthly rent.

- So when people come to the community here at The Lakeside, what are some of the things that they love to see when you're showing them?

- They're very wowed by the luxurious nature of the the living options that we offer, the aesthetic of that. They're very pleased by that. We have a huge saltwater heated pool in our independent living courtyard and palm trees surrounding it. Lots of comfortable lounge seating. You can see the lake and the fountain, and that has a big wow factor for people. It feels very much like a luxury resort.

- Yeah, it certainly looks like one. But the community is more than just the physical surroundings--

- Oh, absolutely.

- The pool and all of that. You know, we've got a fantastic staff here, and there's activities, there's always activity, there's always something happening in this community. How does that play into what you're showing people when you're walking them around?

- Well, as you mentioned, it's about lifestyle, right? So when you make this transition, you're changing your living scenario, but you're also adding a whole nother component to your life, which is the lifestyle factor of having a community around you in a supportive way but also in a social way. So joining the Bridge Club, joining the Book Club, having dinner every night in the dining room with a collective group of friends. That component is as important.

- Absolutely, absolutely, and I think that people, they must see that when they come here. We've interviewed some residents while we've been here this week, and they've all said that, that it's so much more important to be active and they I think they were even surprised at how little time they spend in their apartments, as beautiful as the apartments are. So I guess what advice do you have for people who may be considering, maybe just that next step is picking up the phone and making a phone call to schedule an appointment with you or at any other community?

- Make the call, right, and visit. Start researching, start looking, shop a couple of other communities and see where it fits best. It's kind of a process, and so it's never too soon to start and don't delay, right? If you're considering it, why not make it happen now? Don't wait for a crisis. Take advantage of the time now.

- Yeah, and you know, we like to say that we're always open to people who have the crisis. You know, we want to be a resource for people but moving is a lot of work and there's a lot of emotions with that and everything. And you don't want to be dealing with a health crisis in the middle of all of that. So if you can do that ahead of time, and in many cases prevent that crisis in the first place.

- Absolutely! Why not move in and enjoy what the community has to offer versus the alternative.

- Yeah, exactly. So, well, thank you so much for joining us today, Jen.

- You're welcome It's always a pleasure to be at this community, The Lakeside of Amelia Island. It is beautiful. And to just see all the people and smiling faces here and meeting residents. It was a great week for us.

- Glad to have you.

- Thank you so much. And thank you for joining us online. You can find more episodes about senior living in general and how the whole process of moving into a senior living community works. We answer a lot of questions at We've got webinars, we've got episodes like this, and a lot of information there for you. And specifically for The Lakeside of Amelia Island, if you are interested, you can of course call Jen, and you can visit and learn more at That is the community's website. Until next time, I'm Chris and this is Jen, and we will see you next time, bye-bye.

Get Senior Living LIVE! Updates

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community