Have you heard of senior villages? They are usually organized around neighborhoods. Their purpose is to help seniors who want to age in place. For a yearly membership fee—which is typically a few hundred dollars—the village coordinates volunteers that can help seniors. The senior can have a volunteer drive them places, go to the doctor with them, or even help around the house.
Villages also typically have social and education components to them. They organize talks, book clubs, and other get-togethers to keep seniors socially connected and intellectually stimulated. There are currently 190 villages across the country, and 48 of those are in the Washington, DC region.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Molly Singer, the Executive Director of Capitol Hill Village, which is the second-oldest village in the country (the oldest village is in Beacon Hill, in Massachusetts). Capitol Hill Village has over 400 members, and is located, of course, in Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC. There are two full-time social workers at Capitol Hill Village. They visit seniors at home or in the hospital, and help make sure that their needs are met. Molly told me that there are even four members of Capitol Hill Village that are over 100! They are still living at home, and are able to age in place.
Various village members head up different social and educational options within the village—there is a group that goes out to dinner, a walking group, several book clubs, a travel club, a group that goes to see plays together, etc. The list is only limited by what groups members want to organize. Here’s a photo of the July calendar, just to give you an idea of what is offered.
In Montgomery County, I know of senior villages in Bradley Hills, Burning Tree, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Silver Spring, Kensington, and Takoma Park, among others. If you’re interested in learning if where you live has a village, you can look here: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/ADS/Villages/villageslist.html, http://dcgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=cd1880a5e3d44b128116622f25676df1, or just google your county or city and the phrase senior villages and see what comes up. If your area doesn't have a village, maybe it's time you started one!