Senior “Village” Model for Aging Shows Promise, Lacks Funding

The concept is not entirely new, but the “village” model has gained some popularity in light of new options coming to the senior housing market. 

The model, which promotes aging in place by using member supports, vetted service referrals, and neighborly interactions, is a “promising” model for addressing service needs among middle-class seniors who want to remain in their homes and communities, but it does face some challenges, finds a 2011 study recently published in The Gerontologist

Most of the Village models operate autonomously, and rely on membership fees and donations to remain financially viable.

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“Villages provide a variety of support services designed to help members age in place, meet service needs, and promote health and quality of life,” the study’s authors found. “Members predominantly are aged 65 years or older, White, non-Hispanic, homeowners, and have care needs that are slightly lower than those of the elderly U.S. population overall.”

However, the study says that financial sustainability for the model is “apt to be a challenge unless Villages secure more stable sources of funding.” 

The model could become more sustainable through affiliations with social service agencies and other sources that could lend technical and financial assistance.

Ultimately, there needs to be more observation and evaluation of the Village model to determine its impact on seniors’ ability to age in place, and its ability to be sustainable long-term. 

The study, “The ‘Village’ Model: A Consumer-Driven Approach for Aging in Place,” can be accessed here

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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