Launched eight years ago in Boston with Beacon Hill Village, has spread to Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and more than 50 other cities. Hundreds more are in formation. Typically, the great majority of joiners in the Village Movement are women.
“It’s the women who see the value of socialization,” says Bob Davis, the only male board member of the 9-month-old Ashby Village in Berkeley, Calif. “The men are happy in their workshops or reading or doing some solitary activity.” Beneath this common divergence among couples is the fact that the women anticipate becoming caregivers. The men expect to be cared for by their wives.
By joining the groups, members get access to things like a one stop number to ask for professional services they may need for the future. People’s reluctance to admit they are getting older is the greatest barrier to membership.
“Great idea, but I’m not ready” is a common response. Don Langley, a member of San Francisco Village, bristles at this denial. “You don’t wait until your house is on fire before you get fire insurance.”