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Villages are generally member-driven, non-profit, community-based networks that help provide independent living resources and referrals so older adults who choose to age in place can continue living vibrant and healthy lives in their homes and communities, even as they age and need more support services. Most villages nationwide are self-governing 501c3 nonprofit membership organizations run by a Board of Directors elected by the village members. They are supported by a combination of fees, grants, and fundraising.
The first Village — Beacon Hill Village in Boston — began over a decade ago when 12 older adults joined forces to create a way for them to age at home and remain independent as long as possible while they enjoyed each other's company. There are now more than 190 villages nationwide with more than 150 in development using the blueprints created by these pioneers.
North Jersey Villages uses the "blueprints" provided by the Village-to-Village as we introduce the Village concept to Bergen County. The Village-to-Village Network (VtV) is a national peer to peer network to help establish and continuously improve management of villages, whether in large metropolitan areas, rural towns or suburban settings. The mission of VtV is to enable communities to establish and effectively manage aging in community organizations initiated and inspired by their members. More information at (www.vtvnetwork.org).
According to a recent survey by AARP, 89% of older adults want to age in their own homes and neighborhoods. This is particularly true of the boomers who visited their grandparents in old age homes. It's not the vision of aging they have for themselves. For most boomers — indeed, for older adults — their vision of aging is one of aging in place. This vision includes growing old, if not in the home they have lived in for 40 years, at least in the neighborhood and community they know and love.
Fortunately, their desire to age in place turns out to be a very good thing — good for them and good for society. Aging in place has been found to improve seniors' overall health, life satisfaction, and self-esteem. It improves both their longevity and their quality of life.