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Are you part of the baby-boom generation?

If you are planning on living, and aging, in Humboldt County…now is a good time to help shape your own future.

What kind of home do you want to live in, what activities would you want available…who will help you if you need assistance?

Can you imagine your ideal living situation that includes support for when you might not be physically fit?

And shouldn’t your future life reflect your interests and values?

Arcata Elder Village is a grass-roots group formed to get people involved in this discussion connected to each other. Use the AEV blog-site to research what people have done in other areas, check out great programs like “Village to Village” and innovative housing situations from around the country. Find a part of the upcoming situation that you would want to work on and connect with others.

By 2050, 1 in 5 Americans will be seniors. With funding shrinking for government supported programs, existing agencies need support from the public and new structures need to be designed and built by private individuals. Change can be as simple as builders remembering to keep a new home accessible and as fresh as using the Internet technology to support people living in their own homes longer.

We here in Humboldt have a history of being self-sufficient and inventive. Let’s make this a great place for our next 50 years!

This article is about some interesting ways that cities are starting to adapt to the coming wave of baby-boomers.

How about making school buses available to first drop off the kids …then pick up the adults for shopping and errands?

Check out the link for more information.

Aging boomers strain cities built for the young [Associated Press] (http://news.yahoo.com/aging-boomers-strain-cities-built-young-130207113.html)

“…I want to stay in my own home…”
From a response to the AEV survey question, What would be the ideal situation in your life as you age?

Morning mists as seen from the Arcata Marsh

THE VILLAGE CONCEPT
Recently National Public Radio had a series of shows about innovative ways to help older people stay in their own homes.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129086737

One of the most interesting ideas presented was the idea of helping people age in-place with the assistance of a non-profit community-based organization that supports individuals with their aging needs.

Called “The Village Model”, members pay an annual fee that supports a small staff. That core group would provide contact with members (home visits and phone calls), transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs through vetted (perhaps discounted) providers.

A main feature of this model is the coordination of volunteers. Neighbors helping neighbors with the oversight of the paid professional staff.

So someone living in their home might call the “Village” to get help. This might be a lift to a concert or doctor’s appointment…or to program a thermostat…or to have social connections and healthy activities be more available.

You remain independent, but not alone.

The “Village Model” concept is a non-profit 501(c)3 type of organization begun in 2000 by the Beacon Hill Village in Massachusetts. There are now more than 48 Village organizations operating nationwide.

In California, with the support of the Washington D.C. Office on Aging, the SCAN Foundation and the NCB Capital Impact organization, 6 pilot Village models are being tested in the Bay Area, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Fees for this program vary from $150 to $1200 (for couples) per year.

Most Villages have a paid staff that coordinates the services and member requests. Services are typically funded by a combination of annual fees, donations, and grants. Many Villages provide a subsidized membership fee for low income residents.

The organization provides assistance to people who live in a specific area, whether a few blocks or an entire city. Typically a Board of Directors, made up of people derived from the membership, provide governance and direction.

Each Village is customized to meet local needs and preferences.

ARCATA and HUMBOLDT COUNTY
This concept might be a good model for our area.

As Thea, Pam and I have continued to meet with people involved in senior living on the North Coast, the great majority of people want to stay independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible. Sometimes that requires a little assistance, and for most folks, they are loathe to hire someone to come in to the home if they just need a little help.

With this model, it would be like having a family member available to call, with the advantage that the Village staff would already be familiar with the needs of seniors.

I think there is a steep learning curve with every family learning to deal with issues of aging, be they practical, medical or just good old paperwork. If we were to bring the Village Model here, we would have the advantage of a skilled experienced central staff that can assist members directly. And if someone is hired to help in an elders home, there would be people available who could provide a little oversight to the caregiver/client relationship.

Providing support for the coming wave for elders is going to require more than one type of program.

We have begun researching this model for development here. There will be further articles posted on the blogsite.

Please let other people know about this posting and look for public meetings soon.

We look forward to your feedback. Thanks, JoAnn

Community Survey

Your thoughts are what will move us forward in our efforts to meet the needs of older adults in Arcata. We hope we can facilitate productive aging where we continue to feel a part of our community. One way we are trying to find out what people think is this informal way of gathering information. We also are hoping to do more formal information gathering (e.g. participatory GIS mapping, City of Arcata study) down the road.

Please download and complete our survey (PDF) and mail it to the address at the bottom of the form.

How do you picture your own life after 65?

Arcata Elder Village was formed to stimulate discussion of not-for-profit eldercare options centered in Arcata. Founding members Thea Gast, JoAnn Schuch and Pam Brown have met with local agencies and individuals to gather information and help focus public input into new directions for senior care.

We support a community where we:

  • take control of our own future.
  • make certain that no one ages along.
  • create, as part of a healthy community, living and gathering spaces that value simple living, a small energy footprint and clean foods.
  • make a creative place that is an extension of the values in which we have lived our lives. That includes: staying physically and mentally active, giving back to the community, and living with support human and animal connections.
  • respect the experience and knowledge of the residents.
  • encourage activity opportunities that are creative, active and life-affirming.
  • are able to walk to stores, parks, etc. or, if needed, have transportation available.
  • are open to older adults of all levels of income.
  • respect the diversity of an individual’s ethnicity, religion, creed and sexual orientation.
  • encourage collaboration of agencies and individuals to work together to reach our goal.
  • This is a very interesting article from a woman in Canada.

    She accurately describes the situation for our aging baby-boomer population and sets out a list of principles and goals for the group she represents in Canada.

    Their project is to raise funds and build a continuing care model, is that something we want to do here?

    www.herizons.ca/node/318

    This is a copy of a Letter to the Editor of The North Coast Journal from July 2, 2009.
    The call to work on creating a not-for-profit skilled nursing option at the end of the letter was the beginning of Arcata Elder Village group.

    Editor:

    The people working at the local skilled nursing facilities go above and beyond to provide compassionate nursing care to a population of patients in great need (“Immediate Jeopardy,” June 4).

    My father was a patient at Eureka Healthcare in 2006, a time period covered by the current lawsuit. It was overcrowded (he was placed in a room with three other men where there was not even room to pull up a chair) and noisy, and populations were mixed without regard for their ailments or mental conditions. Staff could not keep up with the constant ringing of call bells. They tried. They were heroic, caring and careful with patients. But it was overwhelming. I described it as being like Bedlam … without the French. Continue Reading »

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