'Senior Villages' Gaining National Popularity
“88 percent of those 65 and up, according to a recent AARP study — prefer to stay in their residence for as long as possible,” according to a recent article by Tara Bahrampour.
That preference has lead an increasing number of seniors to embrace the “grass-roots movement of senior villages,” writes Bahrampour. For a membership fee, a senior village “coordinates volunteers to provide older residents with services that help them live independently.” Services include transportation, grocery delivery, and lawn mowing, for instance.
The Washington D.C. area is leading the new movement, “going from about five in 2010 to 40 that are up and running or in development,” but the movement has also met widespread success: “Nationally, the number of villages registered with the network has increased from 50 in 2010 to 124 this year, with more in development. The first, in Boston, opened in 2002.”
In a telling statement about the inability of most built environments to support aging populations, the executive director of Mount Vernon at Home, Barbara Sullivan, describes how important a draw mobility services are for senior village programs: “Transportation is 80 percent of what we do…Our county can’t provide it. We don’t have walkable communities, so most of our services involve driving people to medical appointments, grocery stores and social events.”