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We Need A Village To Age In Place At Home In Saratoga

Some homeowners aged 50+ or better want a more maintenance/worry-free lifestyle and proactively sense when the time is right to sell their home and move to a townhome or retirement home.  Perhaps the first step for people in their 60’s and 70’s is to buy a single level townhouse (rare in Silicon Valley). Or maybe some of my readers have friends who moved to Saratoga Retirement Community when they were in the 80’s, who say they “love it and wished they had moved there when they were younger.”

In my previous blog post I identified several very attractive continuing care retirement communities (CCRC’s) in Saratoga and Los Gatos. But they have a waiting list and they might not be exactly what you want or can afford.

There are actually lots of non-institutional housing options for aging persons, but the majority of people seem to want to age in place in their existing home as long as they can, until they can no longer manage by themselves.   We have roots in our community and there’s no place like our home in Saratoga, Monte Sereno or Los Gatos.  But there’s something missing in the West Valley that would make aging in place such an improved option – it’s the Village concept (not to be confused with The Villages in east San Jose).  Let me explain.

Some time ago I attended a seminar about concierge services and the Village concept – a new model of supportive communities for elders.  Villages like Avenidas Village in Palo Alto and San Francisco Village are grassroots, membership-based, nonprofit organizations that provide support and community to residents who wish to remain in their own home as they age.  They are self-governing and self-supporting organizations that are designed and implemented by those who will lead and use them.  They are not facilities-focused (like a typical senior center), they are organizations that have activities for its members in various locations throughout a city.

Village membership organizations are a relatively new idea.  The first Village in the U.S. was established in 2001 by the Beacon Hill Village in Boston. Today, here are currently 48 fully operational villages in the United States and over 100 communities now developing the Village model.  Avenidas was formed in 2007 and San Francisco Village in 2009.   NCB Capital Impact and The SCAN Foundation are providing support to those forming Villages in California.

At the core of the aging-in-community models are the benefits of choice, independence, a strong sense of community and greater physical well-being.  The needs, interests, preferances of seniors are given priority because the initiatives are led by and for seniors themselves.  They rely heavily on volunteers and mutual support – being community together.

State governments faced with budgetary pressures and affordable housing challenges may find that these affordable aging-in-community programs offer an opportunity to leverage ” social capital networks” to provide long term care services and decrease reliance on costly institutional settings.  Women seem to “get” the idea of membership Villages easier than men – perhaps you are the exception?

The Village notion should be particularly attractive to the encore generation (aging baby boomers) who find the idea of growing older, senior centers and other seniors institutions like nursing homes abhorrent.  My guess is that a slightly older generation in their 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s will pave the way creating local membership Villages, which boomers will think they invented.

I am excited about this new Village concept and would like to discuss it with anyone who will listen.  Be sure to click on the underlined links above to get more information than this short blog post can provide. Call me or send me an email if you also think a local Seniors Concierge Village is a good idea and would like to become involved in starting a Village in the Saratoga or Los Gatos area.

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  • Drlizrn

    Just learned about Village concept at a Red Cross Retirees mtg – even though I live in The Villages in Evergreen, I still need to find the services needed when I am without transportation or home bound. Interesting as a born and bred Bostonian that the old Boston Brahman’s from the Hill would create the concept, good going for them. And good going for us in San Jose environs to get this going. There is now one in Marin, Sausalito, and San Francisco.

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