Itís not news anymore. By 2030, the older population of the US (age 65 and older) will be about 72.1 million, more than twice the number of seniors than in 2000.
What is a Senior Village?
Aging-in-place is a term that many have heard
over the past few years to describe a way of senior living that does
not involve moving into a senior retirement community. The seniors
of today are a much more active and independent group plus
innovative developments make staying instead of moving a more
One of the most innovative developments in senior living is the "village" model. Started in 2001 by a group of Boston seniors wanting to find a way to remain in their homes, the concept has grown to over 200 villages around the United States with another 150 in the formative stages.
The concept of continuing to live in one's
own home is not new. Finding ways to manage it successfully as
seniors age, with possibly some health and physical limitations, is
the challenge and this is where the village solution can be
beneficial. The village is an organization that coordinates the
delivery of services, supervision and social events that make
staying in the home safe and healthy.
The process of creating a village starts with a group of visionary volunteers coming together and asking the question: "how can our senior residents maintain a safe and fulfilling life while remaining in their homes?". Through surveys, conversations, and meetings, the interest is assessed. If there is sufficient interest, a membership organization is formed, and dues are assessed to pay expenses and staff who coordinate the delivery of necessary services and other items. The idea sounds simple enough, right?
But the process of moving from an idea to a fully established and operating village involves work and dedication and for some communities, it is not simple. However, the popularity of the village model has spawned an organization that advises and assists communities that are interested in developing a local village.
Seniors in a virtual community pay an annual membership fee.
This money goes to staff who are assisted by volunteers. As a team, these individuals may provide the seniors in the community with a range of services, such as:
Transportation to the grocery store, shopping centers, or doctors' appointments
Senior outings, such as group trips to a nature park, concert, or movie theater
Assemblies and lectures with senior services providers, such as Social Security representatives or medical doctors specializing in mental health issues of seniors
Exercise sessions for seniors, such as yoga, water aerobics, or hiking
Aid for seniors who need someone to accompany them to appointments
Home repairs for seniors
Dog walking, pet grooming, or taking pets to vet appointments
Hosting potlucks and get-togethers for holidays and special occasions, such as seniors' birthdays
Ultimately these village communities can offer almost any type of program or service that its members recommend or request as a group. This gives the seniors the opportunity to create their own community that best serves their needs.
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