The village concept is a new model for retirement, helping seniors remain in their homes as they age. Seniors frequently struggle with increased needs associated with aging but are determined to maintain their independence while staying in their homes. The Village Movement is a grassroots concept sweeping across the nation. The virtual village idea originated in 2001 in Beacon Hill, a neighborhood of Boston; nationally there are now more than 110 villages in place and an additional 125 in development. Here's more about the village movement and what it entails:
Members pay an annual fee to have access to a screened network of service providers for home repairs, yard work, or any service required to live at home.
Vetted vendors offer their services at a discount to village members. In addition, free services such as transportation to a medical appointment, computer help, or something as simple as changing a light bulb are available through a network of screened volunteers.
Some of the volunteers may be village members, following the "neighbors helping neighbors" concept.
There is often a cross-generational component of the program involving students and young adults helping village members.
By being a village member, seniors receive peace of mind, service discounts, concierge-style services, and a stronger connection with their community. Across the nation, village networks have been providing the resources necessary for seniors to stay in their homes for longer periods of time. Nationally, the average village member age is 74, and the annual membership dues average $400.
Not only does the village concept benefit seniors but often their adult children as well, because they're seeking resources within the market to provide services for their parents. Kit Armstrong, who lives on the Monterey Peninsula in California, noted how easy it was to send a gift to her mother, who lives in a village setting in Carmel, California. "It's often a time-consuming challenge for adult children to find competent and vetted volunteers and professionals to help meet the needs of an aging parent," she said. "Access to the excellent resources of a village has made that task much easier."
You can learn more about the village movement and what's available in cities across the U.S. at http://www.vtvnetwork.org/.