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For Two Brooksby Village Residents, Continuing to Work Keeps Them Energized and Gives Them a Purpose

May 7, 2018

Peabody, MA  – Five days a week, Felicia Wilczenski commutes into Boston from Brooksby Village, an Erickson Living retirement community in Peabody, MA, where she lives.

As associate dean and professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Wilczenski embraces the opportunity to pursue a career she loves.

"Every day is unique," said Wilczenski. "I have interesting projects that come my way, and I like the purpose and collegiality that come from working."

At 68, Wilczenski isn't alone in her decision to work into her golden years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women working past the traditional retirement age are the fastest growing segment in the workforce. Labor force participation among 65 to 74 year olds is expected to reach 32 percent by 2022, up from 20 percent in 2002.

"We have many people who live here at Brooksby Village who still enjoy working.  A move to the community allows them to reduce the burdens of maintaining a home while still enjoying their many passions in life," said Tracie Bettano, executive director, Brooksby Village. 

In 2015, Wilczenski was living in a condo in Salem when she decided to move to Brooksby Village.

"The move happened much more quickly than I anticipated," said Wilczenski. "When I started learning about the amenities and lifestyle offered at Brooksby, I thought, 'I can use this now.'"

These days, when Wilczenski returns home from work, she doesn't think about the chores associated with home maintenance.

"Living at Brooksby Village makes it easier to maintain my work schedule, because I don't have to worry about the little things," said Wilczenski. "I can set the trash right outside my door. The general services team shovels the snow off my car. Brooksby fixes any appliances that go out. I don't have any of those concerns anymore."

Wilczenski also appreciates the security and peace of mind afforded by life at the community.

"People are always around, both residents and staff," she said. "I go out walking [at Brooksby] early in the morning."

Like Wilczenski, Brooksby Village resident Jerry Rosen also works in higher education. He's a program assistant at Salem State University's Enterprise Center.

"I started working at Salem State University as a supervisor of student teachers in 1968," said Rosen. "When I retired in 1999, the dean [of the School of Education] asked if I'd consider working in community enrichment. I said I'd stay if I could choose my own hours."

Now Rosen works twenty hours each week – five hours a day, four days a week.

"I love the flexible hours, because I can arrange my schedule around activities that interest me at Brooksby Village," said Rosen, who moved to the Peabody community in 2017.

For many working seniors, flexibility is key to enjoying a work-life balance past 65.

For Rosen, the option to continue working offers countless benefits.

"It energizes me," he said. "It gives structure to my week. It allows me to be part of something I enjoy."

And now that he's made a new home at Brooksby Village, Jerry is finding even more ways to embrace this season of life.

"Jerry has a wonderful history with Salem State University," said Jane Kiegel, sales counselor at Brooksby Village. "He continues to love his job and does it with enthusiasm. He brings that same passion for living here to Brooksby, and he's a great example of what it means to redefine retirement."

About Brooksby Village: Brooksby Village, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 90-acre campus in Peabody, Massachusetts. The community is located in Essex County and is home to nearly 1,800 residents. Additional information about Brooksby Village can be found at