Grass Roots Village Movement Helps Seniors Age in Place


USA Today is reporting that the explosive growth of America’s older population is fueling a grass-roots “village” movement in neighborhoods across the country to help people age in their own homes.

Over the past decade, more than 50 villages in a system where a neighbor-helps-neighbor have popped up in places like California, Colorado, Nebraska, and Massachusetts.  These villages, are run largely by volunteers and funded by grants and membership fees to provide services from transportation and grocery delivery to home repairs and dog walking.


With the number of Americans 65 and older expected to more than double to 89 million by 2050, according to the Census Bureau, the need for social services, retirement homes, and assisted living facilities has never been greater.

The “village” concept is taking off in small and big cities and suburbs across the country as the percentage of elderly rises while the share of the working-age population that supports them declines. The percentage of people 65 and older is projected to climb from 13% today to 19% by 2050, while the share of adults age 20 to 64 is expected to drop from 60% to 55%, the Census Bureau says.

“We will hit a really pivotal point,” says Julie Maggioncalda, a University of Pennsylvania geriatric social work student who is interning at the Capitol Hill Village in Washington, D.C. Nursing homes won’t be able to handle all the elderly, she says.  “We simply don’t have enough space, and if we don’t have a village, that burden will fall on families.”

AARP research shows that 90% of people want to grow old in their home and community.  “Villages are one way people can lead the life they want to live,” says Mimi Castaldi, AARP vice president for volunteer engagement. “They’ve caught the imagination of people.”

Villages let elderly grow old at home





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  • Interesting concept but it seems as if it is a replacement for family support. It reminds one of the idealized concept floated by Secretary Clinton. Is this more the creature of the priviledged than of the masses? rnrnUnfortunately, while helpful, it is hardly the vehicle to solve the looming problems around the corner. rnrn

  • rn FROM THE DESK OF JOHN A. SMALDONErnrnTHE FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM BILL AND HOW IT WILL rn IMPACT REVERSE MORTGAGES:rnrnThe reverse mortgage has taken a beating over the past 18 months. This is a program that was a saving grace for seniors and it still is. However, over the past 18 months we have seen the federal government through its agencies like Fannie Mae, HUD and direct legislative action reduce the effectiveness of the program for our senior citizens.rnrnAs an example, the principle limit a senior qualifies for is a gross percentage of the value of the home. This represents the gross amount money the senior would receive before closing costs and any existing loan pay off.rnrnThe calculations that go into determining the gross principle limit is determined by the age of the youngest borrower, the value of the home and current interest rates. The calculations are done according to actuary tables, similar to that of a life insurance policy.rnrn14 months ago the principle limit percentage calculation was reduced by FHA/HUD by approximately 10% of the value of the property. This impacted seniors all over the country. Foreclosures are occurring with seniors by the thousands nation wide. You never hear about this in the news but it is happening. The 10% reduction on a home valued at $200,000 could be a reduction in the gross principle limit of $20,000 less, the senior would receive.rnrnWe are finding that the reverse mortgage is the last resort for many seniors that are facing a foreclosure. However, we are also finding because of the drop in the values of homes around the country, the amount of the principle limit available to the senior is not enough to pay off the existing mortgage on the home. Because of the reduction in the principle limit referred to above, you can see how this is making it more difficult to save a senior from facing foreclosure.rnrnTo add fuel to the fire to an unsettling problem, it looks like a very good chance another reduction in the principle limit may occur by October 1, 2010.rnrnUnfounded bad publicity by some of our senators and congressman has hurt the program nationally. There are many other areas of change over the last 18 months that have had an adverse impact on the reverse mortgage.rnrnNow to get to the main point, the financial regulatory reform bill and how it appears it will impact the reverse mortgage and our seniors.rnrnOut of the financial regulatory reform bill is u201cThe Consumer Protection Bureauu201d (CPB), which is a committee hand picked by our president. This committee will surly be made up of bureaucrats that will be deciding and making decisions affecting our entire financial system that we live by.rnrnOne of the areas the CPB will prevail over is lending in our country. This means lending policies, underwriting guidelines; program types and much more will be under their control. rnrnSome of the items being considered on reverse mortgages are:rnrn1.Requiring seniors to qualify for a reverse mortgage from an income and rn credit standpoint. rnrn Since the establishment of the reverse mortgage in rn 1989 by HUD in conjunction with Fannie Mae, a senior rn has not had to qualify for the loan program and still rn should not have to. The home has always been the rn collateral for the loan. rnrn2. Looking to head off FHA insurance losses upon death of the senior. rnrn Our federal government and the agencies are looking rn at the housing crash and the potential losses the FHA rn insurance fund may face. The losses the insurance fund rn may face, in their opinion, is when the senior passes rn away and the balance of the reverse mortgage comes rnrn due, what happens if the balance is greater than the rn value of the home? rnrn This is a genuine concern, however, the way the CPB, rn FHA/HUD and the Federal government is discussing rn this openly, one would think this administration has no rn confidence that housing values will ever go back up.rnrn3.Imposing another reduction in the principle limit: This rn is another option the CPB is talking about. If this rn occurs, very few seniors will be able to qualify for a rn reverse mortgage that will do them any good. Other rn than those who have a tremendous amount of equity in rn their home, the program will be almost worthless. rnrnrnThe three items mentioned are only a few of what is being discussed and coming from the CPB (Financial Regulatory Reform Bill). The CPB committee spells danger for all of us. The power the CPB will have is dangerous in the hands of any one, experienced or not. Most of the committee members will not have the experience needed to rule over our entire financial system.rnrnWe are convinced that the senior will face the loss of the reverse mortgage program through the inadequacy of the committee.rnrnThis is a profound statement; however, it must be said. It is my belief that this administration has an actuary table of its own for seniors. In short, I feel the Federal government have in mind an age a senior serves no purpose here on earth.rnrnBy what this administration has demonstrated and through the passing of the health care reform bill along with the financial regulatory reform bill it only reaffirms this belief. rnrnJohn A. rnrnrnrn rnrnrn rn rn rn

  • John,rnrnI respectfully disagree. The change in principal limits last year was the apparent result of some bad judgment by President Obamau2019s OMB coupled with the efforts of the President to control all legislation late last summer and last fall so that he could have all legislative attention paid to the health care bill. The House failed to provide any subsidy and the Senate gave us about 38% of what was needed. With no reconciliation, HUD had no choice but to lower PLFs. rnrnSo who is to blame? Whoever in OMB decided that the home appreciation rate should be estimated at the general inflation rate plus 0.5%.rnrnI am not sure what you are referring to when you speak of the CPB. While it is mandated, it is not yet in existence.rnrnYes, lower PLFs are definitely on the horizon due to the changes in the HUD HECM model — as should occur. rnrnHowever, the Senate must act, otherwise, there will be further reductions in PLFs unless HUD can convince OMB and Congress that the HECM Saver will offset the budget positive credit subsidy. By its renewed demand this year to use overly conservation appreciation rates, OMB seems bent on harming those senior homeowners with the greatest need.rnrnDo not blame the wrong parties. Lower PLFs are the direct result of OMB imposing its will upon HECMs. If this is nothing more than a turf war, shame on the OMB because it certainly looks that way.rnrnBoth HUD and FHA are the best friends in government HECM has. Where CPB is on this issue will not be known for months if not much longer. However, it is clearer and clearer where the OMB stands. It is no friend of the HECM program. I hope its position is not the result of the demands of our President.rn

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