Villages Help Seniors Live at HomeAug 30th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
Living Independently – a Challenge for Seniors
One of the big struggles we senior citizens experience is trying to live independently as we age. It is a struggle because of the increasing health issues we face, as well as mobility limitations that creep up on us. As a result, we begin to think about moving to a retirement center or assisted living or, if nothing else is available in smaller rural communities, a nursing home. However, as Baby Boomers reach retirement, both ingenuity and sheer numbers suggest there will be other opportunities that crop up and offer additional options. One of those is creating a Village in neighborhoods and communities.
In 2001, Beacon Hill Village was created in Boston as an alternative to retirement and assisted living communities. A group of residents did not want to move from their homes and neighborhoods. All over 50, they organized Beacon Hill Village to enable a growing and diverse group of Boston residents to stay in their neighborhoods as they age. They organize and deliver programs and services that allow them to lead safe, healthy productive lives in their own homes. In the past decade, Villages have sprung up all over the country, organized by people who want to remain in their homes and need assistance doing so.
Villages Offer Many Opportunities
Some Villages are creating business opportunities for people who want to work with seniors. Home Instead and Senior Helpers offer franchises for entrepreneurs to organize services for seniors, all the way from companionship assistance to Alzheimer’s care. Lotsa Helping Hands is a free, private, web-based community for organizing friends, family, and colleagues – ‘circles of community’ – during times of need. Services include coordination of activities and managing volunteers with the intuitive group calendar. Community Care offers a variety of services to seniors in their homes through the use of volunteers. Caring Companion Connections communicates with family members through a web portal, providing real time information about the status of the aged parent in their care.
Many of the services are free; some have modest charges for their services. They all have a focus on the senior citizen population, their unique needs and trying to connect services with those needs. This is a program sector that will only increase as Baby Boomers retire. As the aging population grows, more programs will spring up to meet their needs, and if the programs are aimed at keeping seniors in their homes, they will likely be highly successful.