George and Lizette Bettinger, a fun and lively couple with a passion for helping seniors, bring aging adults to life through their entertaining radio show and live presentations at senior living communities in Florida. George, a comedian by trade, and Liz, a singer, bring back the memories of the likes of Ed Sullivan and Soupy Sales with a New Milennium-style presentation that’s both nostalgic and comedy-filled for the senior generation.
George hosts an Acting Class for Seniors each Tuesday at 10 a.m. at The South West Focal Point Center in Florida. Some amazing and inspiring success stories have emerged, such as Ruth Sklaroff fulfilling her dream of booking an MTV commercial before her passing. Another student earned a gig as an extra in “Burn Notice,” which is filmed in Miami. And 94-year-old Luisa Linneman recently published a book chronicling the adventures of her life traveling the world. George also has a new show in the works, called “Laughter is the Best Medicine.”
But these live workshops encompass just one facet of what George and his wife, Lizette, have set out to provide for the elder generation. Their radio show, “The Mom and Pop Shop” is broadcast all over the world from their home in Miramar, FL, airs for 90 minutes, three days each week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) on DreamstreamRadio.com.
George uses his three decades of experience in the entertainment and stand-up comedy industries to take on the role of a variety of characters during the show, including The Three Stooges, Scooby Doo, Jackie Mason and even Rain Man. In George’s prior entertainment career, he was best known for playing the voice of the red M&M in commercials. He also wrote, produced and hosted a show called “Movie Magic,” which aired from 1982 to 1987.
The show aims to bring back the vibe of the Golden Age of Radio—from the time when radio formed the centerpiece of American entertainment. Impersonating some of the most well-known characters from those memorable times allows the Bettingers to connect with their audience in a unique way. Even seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are able to connect and respond to media that awakens deep-rooted memories, even if their disease has progressed to a point at which they have difficulty engaging in day-to-day life.
Why do they do it? The Bettingers have a tremendous passion for bringing that Golden Era back to life, with the goal of bringing smiles to the faces of seniors across the world. Their radio show doesn’t allow them to see the expressions of joy they’re creating, but they do get a sense of the impact they’re making with the hundreds of comments and interactions that occur on their Facebook group with every show.
And they have big plans to continue growing their programs, expanding their reach and bringing the same sense of nostalgia, enthusiasm and empowerment to live life to the fullest and reach for the stars--at any age--to seniors in community centers, senior living communities and even those residing in their own homes. The Bettingers continue to offer in-person workshops (which they hope to someday be able to broadcast via the Web so more seniors can have a richer experience), presentations and “The Mom and Pop Shop” radio show.