The Village model for community-dwelling older adults has become quite popular in America’s capital. The Washington Post reports that there are at least six in the District of Columbia alone, and at least 10 others are at various stages of development in the metropolitan area. The Post article also cites three basic models that can serve as good starting points for other communities wishing to replicate them.
The Village model is less of a cookie-cutter approach to aging-in-place than it is a shared spirit of empowerment for older adults to live independently in the community late into life. Each village is very different, with tailored services and programming structures.
Replicable models include Community Without Walls in Princeton, N.J., which was founded in 1992 and has nearly 500 members. It operates mostly through volunteers and as a social club, with $30 annual lower level dues or $300 annual higher level dues. Services provided include rides to the doctor, store, and other errands, a theater group, and other social activities. The second model is Beacon Hill Village of Boston, which charges annual dues and has both paid and volunteer-based services. The third model is based on a service exchange, where a member volunteers to help another member and receives a service from another member of the group in return. Partners in Care, based in Maryland, uses this model and has nearly 2,600 volunteer members.
The success and affordability of these programs depend on a robust volunteer base. The more services available, the easier it is for older adults to maintain their homes, to access needed services, and to remain engaged in the social life of their communities.
For more information, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/08/AR2010020802459.html?hpid=sec-health.