A “Village” is a virtual community, a set of services and relationships, not a building or a physical location.
“Villages are membership-driven, grass-roots organizations that, through both volunteers and paid staff, coordinate access to affordable services including transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities, and other day-to-day needs enabling individuals to remain connected to their community throughout the aging process.” (www.ncbcapitalimpact.org)
- Villages help people help themselves to live independently in their own homes
- Villages are community based organizations that address the rapidly growing demand among elderly to remain socially connected and fulfill their needs related to aging in a setting of their choice
- Villages are consumer-driven self-governing non-profits that provide members 50 and over with an affordable option to remain active, independent and civically connected to their communities
- “Villages are membership-driven, grass-roots organizations that, through both volunteers and paid staff, coordinate access to affordable services including transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities, and other day-to-day needs enabling individuals to remain connected to their community throughout the aging process.” (www.ncbcapitalimpact.org/default.aspx?id=1316)
- Beacon Hill Village, opened in 2002, was the first to create a grassroots support organization enabling seniors to stay in their homes as long as they wished. They have served as the model for other villages throughout the country.
How Does It Work?
Each Village is unique but some features appear to be common to most:
- Non-profit Membership Organizations
- Serving people 50 or older – some exceptions do not use age as a criteria
- Primarily for “middle class” but many have provisions for low-income
- Have geographical boundaries – sometimes grow with time/need
- “Concierge service” i.e. one number for all assistance
- Variety of standard services with accommodations/assistance for individual needs
- Referral services with preferred venders or strategic partners
- Discounts and members only benefits/socials
- Members pay fees for service
- Volunteer Opportunities
- In-Home Care (case managers; companions, homemakers, personal care)
- Medical Needs
- Home Repair & Maintenance
- Organized Social Events and Educational Programs
- In Home Convenience – paying bills; waiting for vendors; watering/feeding animals
- Insurance – prepare for the unexpected
- Safety Net – support when you require it
- Sense of Belonging – a Village provides new friends and deepens relationships
- Strengthens Ties to your Community
- Enhances your Lifestyle – getting help dealing with tasks you previously had to handle on your own
- Less costly than alternative living situations (CCRC; Senior Homes, etc.)
- Enables you to enjoy life while someone else handles the chores
- Peace of Mind
- Keeps you in your own home and community
- Village-vetted vendors save time & money/offer discounts
- At some point we all need help and can’t always depend on or ask our neighbors
What is the need?
- 10,000 of our 79 million baby boomers turn 65 each day
- They are in better health and have a longer projected lifespan than the previous generations
- This emerging group of elders provides a tremendous challenge and opportunity for creative new services
- Surveys show that most Americans would prefer to “Age in Place” remaining in their communities, neighborhoods and homes for as long as possible
How do Villages answer these needs?
- “Aging in Place” provides comfort and convenience
- When supported by volunteer services, it is less expensive to society than paid assisted living facilities
- By enabling seniors to remain in their homes – communities achieve a diversity of age, perspective, and abilities that benefit all residents
- In response to this need, communities are beginning to launch programs known as “Villages” to create a fabric of cost-effective services directed at resident elders in order to insure that they can remain safely and productively in their own homes for as long as is reasonably practical.