“…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.
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