Television station helps seniors heal at California retirement home

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The Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital is a retirement home in Woodland Hills, California, with individual cottages and a fully licensed acute care hospital. But it looks more like the set of TV show.

That’s because it’s actually both.

In Los Angeles, retired TV and film workers in their 80s, 90s and even 100s run their own closed-circuit TV station, Channel 22, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

The station and its retirement community were developed by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. More than 200 residents live there.

Eighty-four-year-old Anne Faulkner schedules all the station’s shows. She started acting in the ‘80s in shows like “Roseanne” and “Knots Landing.” Before moving to the retirement home, she said she nearly died of cancer.

“I didn’t really care, and I let my system and my body go down because of the surgery,” Faulkner said.

“Are you saying this place healed you?” Miller asked.

“Yes, absolutely!”

And for some Channel 22 staff, this community is mending broken hearts. Eighty-six-year-old Tony Lawrence wrote and produced ‘70s and ‘80s film and TV classics like “Elvis” and “Hawaii Five-0” until he said he fell victim to age discrimination.

“I hit 60, the ax came down like a guillotine,” Lawrence said. “It was devastating.”

He moved to the retirement home with his wife and writing partner, Nancy. She died in 2007.

“I was kind of on a downward spiral,” Lawrence said.

That all changed when he met Maddi, who moved in last year with her three-legged dog.

“And I just fell for her in a big way — for a lot of other reasons, not just because she had a three-legged dog,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence now stars in Channel 22 shows like “Dreamcatchers,” about a widower who tries internet dating. He said living at the retirement home has turned his life around.

“Stopping and smelling the roses is not just a phrase. It’s a metaphor for being awakened to life and what life has,” Lawrence said.