I served at Bethel for many years. When someones' spouse died they were given the option to stay.
More than likely, this "sister" decided to leave as you mentioned, I really don't think that Bethel dismissed her at 50+ years of age. But then again who knows...see below.
But as of now, your Elder Body in Bethel is reviewing your sick days, if you have used more than the alloted sick days ... "It would be in the Society's best interest if you take care of your infirmities on the outside." Out you go! Many older ones were told to leave. I am sure if you really could not make it on the outside (no family) then they would PROBABLY keep you but only after they have tried all avenues to send you elsewhere.
1st it was ... "Too many sick days out you go ." This was never officialy released.
2nd it was ... "Bethelites can apply for Gilead straight out of Bethel."
3rd - "Single Minesterial Servants and Elders can apply for MTS (Ministerial Training School) straight from Bethel."
4th - The new layoffs just announced ... WE WILL APPLY FOR YOU ... MTS, Gilead, Special Pioneering, BIFS (Bethelites in Foreign Service)
This trend started once the new arrangement of the Branch Committee in 2000/2001 took effect. GB asked BC to see where the Society can cut costs. 1st it was reorganizing departments. After that took effect, they noticed many workers with no work. Then they (GB) asked where can we cut more "costs"? See above.
The Focus is not on people but on $$$, as they say - "Kingdom Interests".
I feel bad for her. But as long as she is focused on the "work" she will do allright. We hope.
Not a coincidence.