PBS NewsHour recently featured an emerging retirement model meant to facilitate aging in place by using community resources and neighborly help.
The village concept is an alternative to moving into a long-term care facility with a focus on staying at home.
There are around 100 villages located throughout the country and hundreds more in development, according to the Village-to-Village Network, the organization that helps establish each one, although they’re locally led and tailored to participants’ needs. Members of the organizations typically have access to free or low-cost services that can help them remain safely and independently at home as they age.
Susan McWhinney-Morse—one of the original founders of the first village, Beacon Hill Village in Massachusetts—told PBS that the not-for-profit, neighborly model is an example of the multiple options now available to baby boomers as they head into retirement age.
“Probably up until the turn of the last century, there appeared to be very few options because our houses were too big. It was too hard to take care of them,” she said. “But now I think people are beginning to understand that they can move to a smaller apartment in their own community.”
McWhinney-Morse and her husband turned their home into apartments, essentially downsizing without the need to move.
“If one begins to look at the options one has to stay at home, then one can be very creative and find the resources that they need, the support they need to keep their roots,” she said.
Villages can be especially useful for seniors who can’t afford other options.
“One of the things that I really think, is that this model is a terrific answer particularly for people who are low to moderate income and middle class, who simply have no other options. Who can’t move to retirement communities. Who don’t have the resources to go to Sun City,” said McWhinney-Morse. “I think it’s very realistic that it could become the norm in many areas.”
Click here to watch the segment or read the transcript.
Written by Alyssa Gerace