Published in Retirement Living Sourcebook, DC Metro Area Edition Summer 2018
by Christy Brudin
Finding exactly what you need exactly when—and where—you need it can be a rare occurrence. But it does happen. And it did happen for both Beatrice Bobotek and Shirley Sheffey.
Beatrice “Bea” and Shirley are both residents at Brandywine Living at Alexandria, a newly-opened luxury retirement community minutes from historic Old Town Alexandria. The six-story building features 116 suite-style residences and amenities including a movie theater, pub, therapy pool, and dining room. The community offers residents an array of educational, entertainment, and health and wellness choices, as well as daily fine dining experiences.
A native of Kentucky, Bea moved to Alexandria in 1962. She raised her three sons in the area and was still living in her large home in Mt. Vernon prior to her move to Brandywine. She retired from her latest career as a Medical Librarian at the age of 85.
One of the earliest members of Mt. Vernon at Home, Bea was committed to remaining in her home. Mt. Vernon at Home is a volunteer-driven organization that provides services and support to assist Mount Vernon seniors as they age in place in their own homes for as long as possible.
When Bea fell in her home last Christmas Eve, everything changed. The fall broke her femur and started a months-long journey to recovery.
Following an operation to repair her leg, Bea was sent to a nearby nursing home for recovery; however, she contracted a staph infection and had to return to the hospital for additional treatment. After two months of care, she was finally released to a rehabilitation center.
“After that ordeal, Barbara Sullivan, the Director of Mt. Vernon at Home came to me and mentioned that there was a brand new assisted living community in our neighborhood called Brandywine,” Bea recalled. “She came to look at the community, and she thought it was very luxurious. She knew I would be happy and well taken care of here.”
Brandywine Living at Alexandria just opened in March 2018, so Bea was among the first residents at the property. “I have been here for ten days, and I’ve been living a life of luxury,” she said. “I have attendants whenever I need them to help me do whatever I want. They make sure that I am well fed and well taken care of.”
Shirley Sheffey also found Brandywine at exactly the right time. Shirley spent her formative years at a boarding school in rural New York. She was an accomplished equestrian, who spent most of her free time riding and showing horses. Following her graduation, she attended business school and worked as a secretary.
Shirley met her husband, John, at a party at West Point. “He introduced himself and finally got up the nerve to ask me out,” she recalled. “I said yes.”
The Sheffeys were married after a short courtship. When John was stationed in Germany, their international adventures began. The couple lived in Germany, France and Italy before returning to the states. They went on to have two daughters.
After John passed away, Shirley moved from their home in Ft. Ward Park to Montebello, a high-rise condominium community in Alexandria. She lived there for decades before she started to consider moving again.
“I was getting older, and I was getting lonely. I realized that it was becoming more difficult to live alone,” Shirley said. “I heard about this place, and I investigated and decided it was absolutely ideal for me.”
Shirley joined Bea as one of the founding residents of Brandywine at Alexandria, and she couldn’t be happier. Since moving just a few weeks ago, she has thoroughly enjoyed the many amenities the community offers, including the delicious dining options.
Theresa Sheffey, one of Shirley’s daughters, has also been thrilled with the move—although she admits she was hesitant at first. “I could see that Mom needed a little more support and attention than we were able to provide with me working full time and my sister living in Charlottesville, but I felt very guilty about moving Mom,” she said.
Theresa’s initial guilt began to wane after spending just one night with her mother. “On her first night here, before we went to sleep, I asked mom how she felt and if everything was okay. She said, ‘This is perfect. This is what I need.’ I was so happy, I cried,” she recalled.
Beatrice Bobotek and Shirley Sheffey found just what they needed—exactly when they needed it—at Brandywine Living at Alexandria. Now all they need to do is enjoy their new life in their luxury retirement community.