Why Community-Based Senior Villages Are Growing In The US


Published:

Back in 2011, Shareable covered the budding senior village movement. The villages, of which there were only a handful at the time, offer seniors a safety net — members can live independently, while having the option to call people for help with any number of tasks, from getting a ride to the doctor to having a lightbulb changed in their home. While some of these villages have a paid staff member to run these errands, many are run by volunteers, which often includes the residents themselves.

We spoke with Natalie Galucia, executive director of the Village to Village Network, an organization based in St. Louis, Missouri, that helps communities establish and manage their own senior villages. Galucia says there are now 215 open villages and 130 others in development — most are in the U.S., but there are some in Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Cat Johnson: What have you seen from the senior village movement in the last five or so years?

Natalie Galucia: It's really grown. Five years ago there were just a handful. [Now] villages are currently in 44 states and the District of Columbia. They're heavy on the coasts then scattered throughout the country. We've recently added villages in Oklahoma and Iowa, and there's more interest in midwestern states.

We're celebrating the 15th anniversary of the village model and the first senior village, Beacon Hill Village in Boston. As the village model gets older, it is really changing and growing and adapting. Communities are changing and the wants and needs of older adults are changing. Especially as more boomers are getting involved, we're seeing more innovative programming and the overall mission of the villages. It's starting to grow from just impacting the members, to really wanting to provide impact throughout the entire community.

What are some examples of the community-focused programming?

A lot of villages are getting more involved with Age Friendly Community initiatives. A couple of villages have even kicked off those initiatives. For instance, in Columbus, Ohio, villages there are getting together and pushing it through the mayor to make that happen. Villages are also getting involved in intergenerational programming — putting on programming that involves kids, whether it's kids volunteering to help older adults that are members of the village or members of the village volunteering to provide some type of mentorship to kids in the community.

How has the general village model changed in recent years?

Villages are finding ways to diversify revenue. Local governments are providing more support as they realize the importance of senior villages. City support is only in a few areas so far, including San Francisco, but we're really hoping this trend will continue. Two counties, Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County in Virginia both have either a part-time or full-time staff person that's the village liaison to provide information for villages that are starting and provide additional support and funding for operating villages.

Another model that's been emerging is the hub and spoke model where one village acts as the hub and has the 501(c)3 status. They offer all the back office support with things like computer system and database management. Examples of this model are the Marin Villages in Marin, California, and Villages Northwest outside of Portland, Oregon.

The hubs then provide support and cost sharing to localized spokes of the village. Each neighborhood or surrounding city might have their own spoke, then they all work together to help spread out the resources. By doing that, it helps them all keep their costs down. Each spoke still has their own members and their own volunteers and they might put on their own programming, as well as some events or more hub and spoke things. They have the unique identity of the town or neighborhood but then have the overall broad umbrella identity of the entire organization. I'll think we’ll continue moving along on this trend as we grow.

There are now 215 senior villages, with 130 more in the works. Map: <a href="http://vtvnetwork.org/" target="_blank">Village to Village Network</a>

For those interested in joining a village, what's the best way? What's the first step?

The best way is to check our website where there's an interactive village map with multiple search options to search by city or state. There's additional contact information if people want to get in touch directly, or they can also reach out to use and we’ll connect them to the local village.

If someone doesn't have a village in their town, how can they start one? What are the first few steps?

Get on the website and explore the villages to learn more about the model. See what resources are available, connect with a village that might be somewhat close to your area, [and] see what other interest there is in your area. Are there other individuals interested in doing this? Are there existing nonprofits or organizations you can partner with? Is the local government interested? Start to gauge that interest.

This is not a one-person job so the more support you can get up-front, the better. Start thinking through what your village might look like. What's already available in your community? What's lacking?

Early partnerships are really important. Even if they're not directly involved with starting the village, just plant a bug in their ear and see what kind of resources they could help provide. In return, see if there’s something the village can give back to them.

What makes a successful senior village? What are some tips to help it thrive?

They key is building up that strong sense of community. That's what really sells people on the concept and idea. Some communities still do that well, but I think we're starting to lose that. Whether people move or just get busy, that can be harder to come by. I talked to a couple villages recently that don't have as strong a sense of community as they would like. They're trying to build it up by letting their members know that they have a community and a network of support, not just a ride to the doctor, but someone to talk to or lend a helping hand.

Aging in place is a really great concept, but it can be isolating. If you don't have children or other family living near you having someone to check in on you, or bring your groceries once a week, or make sure you're getting out of the house and participating in things, can be an important piece of this.

Are there other challenges senior villages face? If so, how are they being addressed?

Broader sustainability of the village model is the biggest challenge, especially revenue and revenue diversification. Villages are really trying to keep their membership affordable. Membership only covers 40-60 percent of their revenue so they have to figure out how to fill in the gaps.

Being more for-profit business minded when it comes to building partnerships and bringing in different revenue streams is really important. We're looking at, and focusing more on, what some of those other models for nonprofits or associations are. We can help educate our villages about resources we can provide and partnerships we can provide that might trickle down to them and bring more sustainability to the movement as a whole.

What other tips can you offer for those interested in joining the senior village movement? 

Even if you're just exploring the idea of a senior village, we have an introductory membership that’s $100 for six months. It gives 10 people in your community access to all our resources, including the Village 101 Toolkit and our discussion forum, to see what’s there and what this is all about. You can start exploring in your community and see what might be needed.

Follow @CatJohnson on Twitter.

This article was republished from Shareable.

See also:
Why US Communities Should Be Designing Parks For Older Adults
Aging In Community: Inside The Senior Cohousing Movement

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

July 27, 2017

A void of course Virgo Moon makes sleeping late and giving yourself a little extra TLC more appealing. Getting going can feel like an uphill climb this morning. The quietly introspective, less motivated period lasts until just before noon, when the Moon…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

July 2017

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

With Patti Anastasia New moons represent new beginnings and an opportunity to set intentions and start afresh! Join us at Anastasia’s Health Happenings in Amesbury with Patti Anastasia as...

Cost: $20

Where:
Anastasia’s Health Happenings
110 Haverhill Rd
Bldg. C, Suite 342
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Sponsor: Anastasia’s Health Happenings
Telephone: 978-621-8435
Contact Name: Patti Anastasia RN
Website »

More information

A one-day class facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese Reiki. You receive attunements...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Sunday Reiki treatments with Reiki master and practitioner Linda Simons in Brookline, MA. Start your week off on a more balanced note with a Reiki treatment on a Sunday afternoon. Please join me...

Cost: Sliding Scale $20-$40

Where:
233 Harvard Street
Suite 36
Brookline, MA  02446
View map »


Telephone: 617-304-2205
Contact Name: LInda Simons
Website »

More information

Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

July 24 - 27, 2017 Fun-filled, active and relaxing days for kids ages 5-12. Fun yoga geared just for kids, crafts and creative arts, age-mixed outdoor play, group games, creative cooking,...

Cost: $300

Where:
Yoga at the Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga at the Ashram
Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

July 24 - 28 A five day summer program that offers a myriad of ways to explore, express and honor spirit. With a holistic approach to integrating mind, body and spirit, this 5 day program...

Where:
Nashua, NH


Sponsor: Dancing Jaguar Inspirations
Telephone: 207-680-6942
Website »

More information

Qigong is an amazing practice for health, healing and inspiration. Qigong is a series of flowing and repeated movements, stretches and breathing exercises that are very easy to learn and may be...

Cost: Drop in $20 or purchase series card

Where:
The Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: BodyWork Revolution
Telephone: 781-372-1000
Contact Name: Steve Cunningham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Learn about the center chakra and how when aligned can improve your life. Read more: www.heartsong.info

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Qigong is an amazing practice used to prevent and heal disease. Qigong is a series of flowing and repeated movements, stretches and breathing exercises. Qigong movements are gentle and easy to...

Cost: $12

Where:
The Arlington Center
369 Mass Ave
Arlington, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Maryellen LaBelle
Telephone: 781-710-4325
Contact Name: Maryellen LaBelle
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

MBSR: Tools for Managing Stress and Enhancing Wellbeing Dates: Wednesday Evenings July 12, 19, 25 August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 Retreat: Saturday, August 26, 2017 9:30-4:30 PM Join us for a...

Cost: $300 - $650

Where:
Cambridge Health Alliance
26 Central Street
Somerville, MA  02143
View map »


Sponsor: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Telephone: 617-591-6132
Contact Name: Bridget Kiley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

There has never been a more powerful and better time in history when people are so focused on creating and living their dreams. What do you want to manifest? Whether it’s more success in your...

Cost: $20 early bird

Where:
Wellesley College Club
727 Washington St.
Wellesley, MA , MA  02481
View map »


Sponsor: Success Coaching with Kate
Telephone: 617-469-3114
Contact Name: Kate Beeders
Website »

More information

July 27 - 30, 2017 Flying Phoenix Qigong with Sifu Terry Dunn is a 3-day and 5-day intensive Qigong workshop that teaches participants the essential core practice of Flying Phoenix Heavenly...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Sponsor: Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

July 27 and August 3, 7-9pm Intuition Development Course I with Caroline E. Zani, M.Ed of Bridging The Gap Psychic Arts In this enlightening and relaxed course you will begin to understand...

Cost: $150

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Understanding Inflammation: Why It Happens And How To Fix It With Kali Sink, Certified Nutrition Consultant Join us for a one hour workshop to answer these questions and more about...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Studio at One Earth
191 Emery Mills Road
Shapleigh, ME  04076
View map »


Sponsor: The Studio at One Earth
Telephone: 207-636-2500
Website »

More information

July 28 - 30, 2017 Nurturing Your Heart’s Vision: Vision lives in the heart and grows when we create a safe, silent space to listen and follow their guidance. This workshop will be an...

Cost: Please see description

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Sponsor: Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Come unwind at the end of the week with your Anastasia's Health Happenings tribe! Fridays in Amesbury… Kick start your spiritual journey by supporting others on their spiritual...

Cost: $5 suggested donation

Where:
Anastasia’s Health Happenings
110 Haverhill Rd
Bldg. C, Suite 342
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Sponsor: Anastasia’s Health Happenings
Telephone: 978-621-8435
Contact Name: Patti Anastasia
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dealers, exhibits, lectures, demonstrations, children's activities, silent auctions, door prizes, refreshments, free parking. Handicapped accessible.

Cost: $4 adults (16-59), $3 seniors (60+), children under 16 free with adult

Where:
Tuttle Middle School
500 Dorset Street
South Burlington, VT  05403
View map »


Sponsor: Burlington Gem and Mineral Club
Telephone: 802-462-3548
Contact Name: Peg Powers
Website »

More information

Do you find yourself wondering, “What is this plant/weed?”  If so, come join us to learn about the many plants growing just outside our doors that are often dismissed as common...

Cost: $15

Where:
Holy Cow! Garden
at the Codman Estate
Lincoln, MA  01773
View map »


Sponsor: YOGA YUGA
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Featuring the clothing line, jewelry and gifts of Rosanne Menard of Four Winds One Breath. For bazaar info: bazaar.cs.org. Complete line at 4winds1breath.com.  

Where:
Four Corners Arts Center
3852 Main Road
Tiverton, RI
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags