Wednesday, September 22, 2021
A generation or two ago, many Americans assumed that, when they grew older and frailer, they would go to a nursing home or assisted-living facility. But aging looks different now. According to a recent AARP survey, today’s older Americans — 88 percent of those 65+ — prefer to stay in their home and community for as long as possible.
Villages are nonprofit, community-based organizations committed to helping people live and thrive in their own homes, surrounding them with the extra help they need to stay active and engaged. This “extra help” is provided by volunteers who share a passion for helping their neighbors age well in their homes. A Village offers many of the benefits of a traditional retirement community – all in the comfort of the family home.
Villages provide a way for seniors to stay connected, safe and engaged. Now especially, during and after the pandemic, Villages are a lifeline for seniors, providing transportation, grocery shopping, errands, and help both inside and out of their homes. Villages stay in contact with their members -- providing regular check-in phone calls to their more vulnerable members and offering engaging social activities, in person or online as circumstances dictate.
Loneliness and social isolation are linked to serious health conditions, and seniors are at the greatest risk. Perhaps the most essential Village offerings are the engaging online and in-person activities and events: book groups, current events discussions, virtual art tours, birthday celebrations, educational talks with guest speakers, and much more that keep seniors connected with one another. Villages are an essential component of a community’s senior safety net.
The Washington area leads the country in the growth of senior villages, going from about five in 2010 to 60 that are up and running or in development today. In Northern Virginia, you can find villages in the City of Alexandria, Arlington, Mount Vernon, and elsewhere relying on volunteers to provide the extra help and connection that makes aging-in-place possible.
Arlington Neighborhood Village, Mount Vernon At Home and At Home in Alexandria are three of the Washington area’s more than 60 senior Villages.