Friendships Span Generations at Bethany Village
“I do nothing,” laughs Dottie Bitzer as she sits by the window of her Vista Place apartment. “They clean for me. They wash for me. They cook for me.” Life at Bethany is so relaxing and allows plenty of time for an active social life.
In a way, says Dottie as she holds up a calendar of events going on at Bethany Village, living in a retirement village is a lot like high school. She enjoys her group of close friends, attends community lunches and participates in trips out to restaurants to eat. There is even a bit of gossip. And Dottie likes to be in the thick of things; she is one of a large group of former students from Dayton’s Roosevelt High School who chose to retire just a few miles from where they grew up.
“There is someone I knew in 3rd grade that lives here! His name is Don Compton,” says Dottie, We sang and danced together in the school play. We figured out that we have known each other 83 years, and we’re still speaking!”
Friends from the Roosevelt group have blended into Dottie’s new Bethany social circle. Every evening Dottie and her friends come together in their community living room on their floor. Dick Carnal, another Roosevelt grad, joins them nearly every evening. They talk, they joke, play board games and they even play in a kazoo band where Dottie brings her washboard skills to songs like Goodnight Sweetheart.
“They are my family. That’s why I go out there every night, even on holidays,” says Dottie. ”The other night we decided it was time for a party and pretty soon one of the girls brought in strawberry shortcake. We sat out there and enjoyed it together.”
Of course Dottie still sees her family, but her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are spread out across the country. They visit and talk on the phone, but, just like in the old days at Roosevelt High, family is no replacement for a close group of peers.
“They wanted me to move to Columbus, but I didn’t want to go,” explains Dottie. “My doctors are here, my church is here and my friends are here. And while they all work, what do I do? I have a great time!”
A few years ago, when there were many more Roosevelt grads in the community, Bethany held a luncheon in their honor. Dottie thinks so many chose Bethany because they knew it was a great place, and it is just a few miles from the streets that hold so many memories for the Roosevelt grads.
“We all talked the other night about how we ate ice out of the ice truck. It would fall on the ground and we would just pick it up and eat it!” Recalls Dottie, “We used to walk barefoot by the curb after the rain – I hope kids still do that.”
Dottie and many of the other graduates from Roosevelt have embraced the community environment of Bethany Village. Dottie says being together reminds them of their time at Roosevelt and their younger selves. She points to that openness, to embrace and enjoy retirement as a wonderful time of life, as the key to her happiness at Bethany Village.
“This is a great place to live,” says Dottie, smiling, “and I have been here a long time, 15 years to be exact!”
The Bethany Village team understands that choosing to leave home and transition to a retirement village is a difficult step. We have brochures and materials that talk about our state of the art facilities and caring staff. We have data that shows the health benefits of the care we provide. But, at the end of the day, there is nothing we could say that speaks louder than the words of the men and women we serve. We hope you enjoyed reading a bit about what Dottie enjoys about living here, and we hope you will consider joining our family.