The Village Movement
The Village Model has Inspired an Aging Revolution
The Village Movement is a rapidly growing idea where Neighbors help Neighbors as they grow older. As seniors are making the decision to Age in Place they inevitably will need some support. Simple things, like getting on a step stool to change a lightbulb or dragging the trash can to the curb, can become a challenge with age. The Villages are volunteer-based organizations coming together to support seniors in their communities by helping them tend to these simple needs.
The Village concept began in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood in 2002. A group of friends gathered to talk about the future. They knew they wanted to stay engaged in their neighborhood but understood they might need help as they grew older. They developed the idea of a “grassroots membership organization” supported by volunteers. A lightbulb moment and the Village Movement began. They inspired other communities to develop their own Village and today there over 300 Village communities with more in development.
A Village is more of a plan than a place and can exist in your neighborhood. It’s a group of like-minded people who live near each other and are willing to engage local seniors in volunteer and social activities. When Aging in Place the most urgent needs are transportation, home safety and belonging to a social community. Community volunteers step up to accommodate these needs. Village volunteers have indicated that they see volunteering as an insurance policy towards successful aging. Villages offer diverse volunteer services, from pet walking to organized runs to a local grocery store. A majority offer volunteer services in these areas:
90% of Villages Offer:
- Transportation Services
- Social Events
- Classes or Educational Events
80% of Villages Offer:
- Technology Assistance
- Shopping & Errands
- Home Maintenance & Light Repair
- Referrals to Outside Services
*Source: 2016 National Survey of US Villages, University of CA Berkeley, Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services & Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging
Each Village is unique in that it represents the local community needs and culture. Villages are usually non-profit organizations led by a board of volunteers. Most Villages have a membership fee because even though it is run with volunteers overhead expenses remain. Background checks are usually conducted before a volunteer can begin helping the members of the community. Many villages also offer a robust social calendar including activities like morning coffee, lunch gatherings, book clubs and a walking group. The social interaction further strengthens the ties within the community. By joining, a Village member has confidence in their decision to Age in Place.
Benefits of a Village
- Allows seniors the option to Age in Place
- Provides the option for seniors to receive home health care and possibly delay or prevent institutional care
- Reduces isolation
- Creates stronger communities resulting in social cohesion
We are in the middle of an Aging Revolution and the Village Movement is on the forefront. If you would like to learn more about the Village Movement or are interested in starting a Village in your community, please Contact Us.