|Re: The Villager Movement||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Raines Cohen (rc3-coho-Lraines.com)|
|Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2020 08:08:21 -0700 (PDT)|
David, It sounds like you may be referring to the “Beacon Hill Village” movement, aka the Village movement (or “Village to Village” aka v2v, the name of the national mutual-support network of Villages, like Coho/US is to cohousing neighborhoods), in which area seniors self-organize community support designed to help them with “aging in place” so they don’t have to leave their homes and neighborhoods as they get older. Like cohousing, it is a grassroots movement, led by members, but no housing development or ownership is involved. I noticed the resemblance to the community organizing in our communities, especially organic or “retrofit” cohousing, in which folks build connection with neighbors where they live. It started with one in the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, and spread, now with hundreds around the country. I’ve been participating in their conferences over the past 15 years, and volunteering with my local community, Ashby Village in Berkeley, California. (There is some institutional housing for seniors that also uses the “village” name in its branding; that is not related to this model) In some ways it is like a church or synagogue or religious institution, helping its members take care of each other and providing a social context. The idea is that members pool funds (typically $500-1000 per member per year) to create a not-for-profit organization (aka NGO), hire staff and rent an office, and/or volunteer (given that many founders are retired and have skills and life experience) to organize services like: * Transportation so members don’t have to keep a car or risk driving (sometimes partnering with taxi services, sometimes hiring a driver). Especially important for older members with mobility challenges and risks of falling is to provide “through the door” service at both ends of a trip, helping someone in and out of a car and walking them in, to prevent falls. * A “concierge” referral service for home services so that members can get safe, prompt quality services, be it for plumbing or home health attendants or whatever folks need. A service provider is much more likely to be attentive to a senior’s needs when they know that thousands of other jobs may or may not come their way based on a single review. * Accompanying members for medical appointments to help take notes / remember doctor instructions, and make sure they are communicating effectively with providers.. * Technical training and assistance with using technology * Support groups, special-interest classes, physical activities, and social events * Helping communicate with family members to engage appropriate assistance when they can no longer maintain independence. But much of this, sometimes branded as a paid service, misses what Alan O calls “the secret ingredient” of cohousing: community. People getting together and regularly talking to each other and inspiring and organizing is the true value of ventures like this. The opportunity to be of service and help others and see that they are not different and needy both gives members a purpose AND makes them better able to ACCEPT help, and ASK FOR IT when they need it, rather than waiting until after they are forced to. It also motivates people to take preventive steps to stay healthy, independent and able. Like cohousing, it is about maintaining independence through interdependence. That’s why I included it in the “Aging in Community” chapter I wrote for the book Audacious Aging a decade ago, and have been working to weave connections between the Village movement and cohousing: * Villages can be on-ramps that lead to creating senior cohousing * Senior and intergenerational communities can partner with and learn from Villages to help meet their residents’ needs as they age. At first the connection seemed more tenuous, as the Village movement branding is all about “staying in your own home,” not being forced to leave the neighborhood, and staying independent. But over time members start to perceive their own collective capacity and see the direct benefit of building to meet their needs, rather than paying service providers to drive around to provide little bits of help here and there. Capitol Hill Village in Washington, DC has plans to build a senior cohousing neighborhood, and others are exploring similar ventures. I believe that Villages can be a great tool for helping people through the steps to organize cohousing creation. In some ways it is a community-self-help model, and the first communities were led by more affluent members that had the resources to fund service provision and coordination. It has since grown and organized some scholarships and business/service provider partnerships to reduce barriers to entry, but, like cohousing, it remains generally less diverse and richer than the potential membership population at large. I imagine that in many other countries there is a richer social-support net that makes this kind of venture less necessary, versus the fragmented system here in which a confusing mix of different local, state and federal agencies provides limited services to only the neediest, in ways that people need help to navigate. I am enthused that Village groups have started lobbying and advocating for systems change, reform in laws and practices that make aging harder than it should be. They can leverage the outsized political influence of elders to do good, expand support networks to cover everybody, and make Villages better able to focus on the social side of their work. Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach and Certified Senior Advisor Aging-in-Community Author & Sage-Ing Intern at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing https://www.AgingInCommunity.com/ On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 6:17 AM David Mencher <menchers [at] gmail.com> wrote: > Hi All, > > Some of us here in Israel have been wondering about a community building > > project called the Villager Movement, which seems particularly suited for > > Seniors. Is anyone familiar with this movement and can you direct me to > > contacts ? > > > > Thanks > > David > > > > > >
- The Villager Movement David Mencher, August 19 2020
- Re: The Villager Movement fergyb2, August 19 2020
- Re: The Villager Movement Fred H Olson, August 21 2020
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