The Village Purpose
Many older adults want to stay in their own homes as long as they can, and often they need some help to make that possible. Not everyone has family to count on. So for tens of thousands of older Americans, the solution has been something called the village.
First of all. It's a neighborhood-based membership organization. Usually, the way it works is that older adults pay dues of a few hundred dollars a year. And that pays for an office and a tiny staff. And then the village provides connections to discounted services, anything from contractors to grocery shopping to home health workers. There are also social activities. Basically, it's a lot of things you might find in assisted living except you don't have to leave your home.
The numbers of villages has grown to more than 280 over the past 15 years and there are more than 120 in development. But 15 years ago, there was only one village in the Beacon Hill section of Boston.
How The Village Began
The first formal Village was founded in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston in 2001. Approximately one dozen residents of the historic neighborhood wanted "to remain at home" once transportation and household chores became difficult, dangerous, or even impossible. They also wished to avoid becoming dependent on their children, but did not want to move to an old-age facility.
They founded an organization to provide these services to the organization's members, who must live in Beacon Hill or the adjacent Back Bay neighborhood. The result has been called an "intentional community" or a "virtual retirement community".
The organization grew slowly, learning from its mistakes. After four years in existence, Beacon Hill Village was the subject of an article in The New York Times, and the idea spread. Beacon Hill Village prepared a how-to manual for sale to those who would found other Villages. By 2010, there were more than 50 Villages in the United States. As of 2012, there were some 90 Villages in operation in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands, with more than 120 other Villages in the formation process. By 2018, the idea had spread as far as South Korea and Finland. By 2019, there were 280 Villages in the United States.(Wikipedia - Elder village - History)