Around the country, the nonprofit Village model of neighbors helping neighbors has taken off. At last count, 205 Villages were open, with another 150 in development, in 46 states, all aimed at helping older adults remain in their own homes. But Villages often do not reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of their communities or of the nation. This matters, says Molly Singer, executive director of Capitol Hill Village (CHV). “This is a grassroots movement that is meant to serve the entire community.”
As grassroots organizations of older adults, The Villages are based on the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. But having been around for 15 years, the national Village movement faces a new challenge. These communities are wrestling with the limits of neighborly help when it comes to members’ increasing physical challenges or cognitive loss.
Senior Services Winston-Salem is one of the nation’s largest broad-based non-profits serving elders to undergo a company-wide transformation in its culture through Eden at Home, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life of the older people they serve.
Unlike most cohousing communities, which can be costly, Sand River Cohousing in Santa Fe, N.M., offers many members a financially-sustainable lifestyle.
Houston-based Sheltering Arms’ recent efforts to transform their mission to empowering elders is an example of the reframing of our cultural views of aging, a trend that is happening around the country.
I’m not sure what the goal of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging was—but if it was to have participants leave energized and ready to take on the challenges, alas, I fear it did not succeed.
Would you allow residents to hire your staff? Most nursing homes would likely find that idea unimaginable, if not outright crazy. But at Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, in Joliet, Illinois, no employee is hired without resident approval.