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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 03/27/2015

The Neighborhood You Dream About

The Village Movement is Prompting Communities to Think about Creative Solutions for Aging in Place

Imagine you are living in a community where you know your neighbors. Imagine that your patio needs weeding, and you prefer not to do it. In this neighborhood, a simple phone call can have someone over to take care of your weeding. Perhaps you need some home repairs, or you are returning home from the hospital after surgery and need some assistance. In this neighborhood, you can get assistance from trusted volunteers and providers with one phone call. This type of neighborhood is becoming a reality, and the Washington, D.C. region and the state of Maryland are the launching pad for several.

How it All Started

Nearly 90 percent of Baby Boomers say they want to stay in their homes and close to family and friends as long as possible, according to a survey by AARP. The challenge these individuals face, however, is that if they do nothing to prepare for future needs, they may not be able to continue living in their homes as long as they would like.

Residents of Beacon Hill, a downtown Boston neighborhood, responded to the challenge of staying in their community by joining their neighbors to take control over where and how they will live in the years to come. They formed a non-profit, Beacon Hill Village, which serves those aged 50+ in central Boston, to take advantage of social, cultural and wellness activities without leaving their homes. The various services provided are designed to respond to the members’ specific needs and wants and include concierge services, comprehensive home care, home repair, house cleaning, grocery shopping, transportation and other services.

Where it is Going

The original Beacon Hill has now grown to nearly 400 members. The innovative concept has also grown exponentially.

Hundreds of other communities have been founded based on the same principles in the United States and beyond. In fact, by the tenth anniversary of the original Beacon Hill, more than 60 Villages had  opened. These Villages are all connected through the Village-to-Village Network, which is a means for villages to learn from each other, exchange ideas, pool resources and share tools.

Customized to the Neighborhood

The design and implementation of individual villages is customized to the needs and wants of the specific neighborhood. Most of these groups have done informal and formal research to determine what the  members want, and are designing their program to address those needs. Consequently, no two programs will be exactly the same.

Village to Village Network is a national organization that supports the Village movement. This is a membership organization with a wide variety of support available to members. More information is available at www.vtvnetwork.org.

Published: June 2014

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