The Villages Movement
In 1999, aging residents of Beacon Hill, MA, gathered to figure out how they could stay in their homes as long as possible, continue to engage in their neighborhood, and get the support they needed as they aged. They envisioned a new model – a Village, rather than be dislocated and "taken care of."
Today, more than 200 villages have launched across the nation with another 150 in
development. Each village has crafted its version of this new model of living, one in which individuals take control of their lives and decide where and how they
will live into their later years. Villages are run by volunteer Boards
or Governing Councils elected by and answerable to members of the
A Village is an idea whose time has come. Thousands of baby boomers are turning sixty-five every day, and they and the generation before them want to stay active and usually stay put, even as they need more services and support to remain in their own homes.
The demographics data for our region is no different; in 2010, the senior (age 65+) population of Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah Counties was 190,000. By 2030 that number will be almost 400,000, with Washington County having the fast growing age 50+ population in the region.
River West Village is forming in response to the desire of residents in SW Portland and surrounding areas to remain in their community, keep their ties with neighbors and friends, and thrive as they age in
place for as long as they are able.
Characteristics of a Village
- Villages build relationships and develop community through social
activities including potluck dinners, book clubs, exercise/wellness
activities, and educational programs.
- Villages are "volunteer first," organizations that prefer to use
volunteers to deliver services before calling on staff or outside
- Villages provide "one call does it all" support and problem-solving
for their members.
- Villages do not duplicate existing services. They make it their
business to know what is already offered in the village boundaries
by other nonprofits, senior centers, and government agencies.
Villages fully utilize these services and then fill the gaps.
- Volunteers provide much of the transportation, shopping, household
chores, gardening, and light home repairs and maintenance that
- Vendors that are thoroughly vetted provide professional services and
home repairs, usually at a discounted rate of 20-50% for members.
- Institutional and business partners are carefully chosen to provide
home health care services.