PBS: Village Model for Aging Gains Popularity

Last Thursday, PBS NewsHour aired a segment featuring the village concept, a community model in which neighbors help each other age in place as an alternative to moving into a long-term care facility.

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.

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“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.

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Click here to watch the segment, or read the interview with the Beacon Hill Village founder.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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