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 125 villages exist across the nation as a result of grass-roots efforts undertaken by ordinary people. 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 Village. This model, built from the ground up by volunteer residents, is the model that Viva Village! has adopted.
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, less than 17 years from now, 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 resources.
- 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 members request.
- 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.
Aging In America – In the News…
Joining a Village is listed as the #1 tip for turning 50 according to Forbes, read here! Arlington, VA (January 14, 2014) – The January 10 issue of Forbes identified “joining a Village” as the number one tip in “50 tips for turning 50”. Villages are changing the way baby boomers and elders age. They are consumer-driven, non-profit membership organizations of adults over 50 who have chosen to remain in the homes, neighborhoods and communities they love as they age. Serving more than 25,000 people in 120 Villages in 39 States, this critical movement is changing the aging paradigm for millions of Americans.
Consumer Reports lists joining a Village as a step toward healthy living into your 80s and beyond, read here! Check to see whether you already live in an area served by a village, a membership network of people who are “aging in place” in their own homes with the help of services such as rides to the doctor, home maintenance and repair, computer troubleshooting, social events, in-home medical care, and light housekeeping in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. Find one near you at Village to Village Network.
Heart of the Village
Quote from Heart of the Village, Facebook Page A recent research report released by Rutgers University and the University of California-Berkeley presents a national “snapshot” of Villages in the U.S. The report presents finding from a national survey conducted in 2012 regarding Villages’ organizational characteristics, finances, community settings, membership statistics, services, activities, governance and collaborations. For more information about the study please visit http://agingandcommunity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Village-FINAL.pdf.
National Villages Network
Quote from The National Villages Network: vtvnetwork.org Village Sustainability and Engaging a Diverse Membership: Key Findings from a 2013 National Survey is a new report from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is now available for download. This report describes findings from a two-phase national study of Villages focusing specifically on changes over time in Village size and funding, perceived challenges to sustainability and successful strategies for responding to those challenges. Click here to download.
Columbine Community Village was recently part of an article in the Denver Post, Colorado’s Cities and Counties Prepare for the “Silver Tsunami,” read here! Another popular option for aging in place is the national Village Movement, where neighbors come together to help each other instead of waiting for governments to find funding. In Littleton, the Columbine Community Village started in 2012 to offer members volunteer assistance with everything from household chores to educational programs that keep them intellectually stimulated and socially connected. Word of the movement is rapidly spreading through the suburbs.
NBC Nightly News – Jan 24, 2014
Click on the picture of Brian Williams to see the impact of the village movement. Use the River West Village tab at the top of your browser window to return to River West Village
CBS News Sunday Morning — National News from October 19, 2014
This segment shows how we can work together in Villages to help each other stay in our own homes and the neighborhoods that we love as long as possible. The part about Beacon Village starts at 5:25 minutes into the segment. Click here to watch video.
TED Talks – It Takes Villages by Judy Willett
The Power Behind the Village Movement
My Generation: Aging In Place | AARP
How More Americans Are – Aging In Place”
River West Village – SW Portland, Oregon
The Village model is successfully serving more than 25,000 people in 125 Villages in 39 states across the United States. This critical movement is changing the aging paradigm for millions of Americans.
River West Village is a member of the Villages NW hub & spoke Network. Villages NW serves as the nonprofit hub for River West Village and other spoke Villages throughout the Portland metro-area.
Currently in the planning phase, River West Village is a group of dedicated and active neighbors who are working to make the Village model a reality in SW Portland and surrounding areas.
You, too, can be part of our community and planning process! Contact us and learn about what we are doing!