An Adventurous Life for One Active Adult
Dot Michener is constantly seeking adventures. And since she moved to Freedom Village Brandywine, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, she has had quite a few, including becoming a producer of the residents’ In-House TV Station.
“My time here has been an exciting adventure,” said Dot, who was actually unsure she was ready for a retirement community at the time of her move 11 years ago.
“I came kicking and screaming,” she said. We were snowbirds in Naples, Florida, and I couldn’t imagine a better lifestyle. This was truly a dramatic change for us but, moving to Freedom Village Brandywine was one of the best moves we’ve made. I thought I would settle here to bake bread and make jelly, but thus far I haven’t had time to do either.”
Dot’s husband Mich, who won a Silver Star during the Battle of the Bulge and was disabled from war wounds, saw an ad in Military Officer magazine for Freedom Village Brandywine. The community is located in West Brandywine Township in Chester County and owned by Brookdale Senior Living®, the largest provider of retirement residences in the United States.
Originally from New York, Dot spent her career in education. She was a third grade teacher, a Head Start program director and an educational director of six private schools from New York to Puerto Rico. Formerly a consultant with the New York State Department of Education and an educational project developer for Warner Communications, Dot has also written 13 books for teachers with Incentive Publications.
Dot’s teaching background made her the perfect recruit for the educational television programming launched by Freedom Village’s residents — none of whom had any prior television experience. She enjoys collaborating with teams of residents who generate program ideas, write scripts, and operate the cameras and computer equipment in the onsite studio. The channel content includes news and entertainment that is broadcasted to residents in independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing.
The proof is in the ratings — as they say in the television business, and resident ratings for Dot’s show, “Focus,” are high. The team interviews with the community management, financial advisors, medical experts, and other residents quickly connect the audience to what is happening in the community. The cameras often follow Dot to the scene of the story — perhaps into the kitchen for a cooking demonstration; or into a studio to film woodworkers or artists as they craft their work. When the new Terrace Homes were being built last winter, Dot and her crew wore hardhats and boots to capture the progress of construction on snowy days.
Dot’s latest adventure involved learning to play the drums. “I practiced with chop sticks for a July 4th Spirit of ’76 show since I’d never drummed before.”
Beyond broadcasting, however, the opportunities onsite for Dot and her peers are endless, whether it is participating in Tai Chi and water aerobics, sightseeing on a daytrip, or simply enjoying the relaxing environment. “I love the trips to the museums in New York and Philadelphia,” she said. “We live close to many cultural areas and close to the countryside with the Amish and the plain and simple life.”
There is no question Dot’s life has been filled with many exciting adventures since her arrival, and if her past life is any indication of what is still to come, Dot is in for a lot more excitement at Freedom Village Brandywine.