“It takes a village – to age successfully.”
According to AARP, the need for long-term care in the U.S. will double between 2000 and 2040.
The “village movement” is just one of many solutions to help the aging population stay in their homes and/or communities for as long as possible. It’s a simple concept in which senior residents in a community join together to form a village to provide support and services to members of the village. In this way, independent living for an extended period of time can become a reality
There are many variations on the village; some charge annual dues, while others are free of charge. One of the first villages was created by residents in Boston’s Beacon Hill in 2001. This upscale neighborhood charges $640 annually for an individual and $890 annually for a household. This is a reasonable amount to pay for delaying or avoiding institutional care which averages more than $39,000 a year for assisted living and over $77,000 a year for nursing home care. Significant cost savings in the village model may also be realized by government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Basic assistance with village members’ daily needs is the core principle of the village model. Services offered include:
- Personalized transportation
- Meal preparation or delivery
- Routine housecleaning and yard work
- Access to discounted home repair and maintenance services from local businesses
An innovative model, the village is a member-driven organization that is relatively simple to implement. Residents of a community get together to incorporate as a nonprofit. Residents become members and typically pay an annual fee. The annual fee is used by the Village to provide members with services as needed. Many villages depend heavily on volunteers to provide services. Some villages work on a barter system, where members who provide services earn credits and can “bank” them to spend when they need assistance themselves.
Many believe that volunteer-based communities are one of the best solutions for helping the rapidly aging U.S. population to successfully balance the aging process with the desire to remain safely and securely in their homes as they age.