Villages are a membership-driven, grassroots effort to address the current and unfolding challenges facing community dwelling older adults. Originally started in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in 2000, the Village concept arose out of older community members' desire to reside in their own homes while being able to access services that address their needs related to aging. The Village model is rapidly expanding across California and the nation.
At its core, Villages are consumer and community-driven. Some Villages are run completely by volunteers, and others have a combination of volunteers and paid staff. Villages deliver some services through peer volunteers, as well as provide support and service coordination to vetted and discounted providers. Villages offer four key services:
Core Services – Typically, these are services which are covered by the membership fee. They include transportation coordination, grocery shopping, community event organization, medical advocacy and information and referral services.
Concierge Services – By design, Villages avoid developing "menus" of services other than a short list of core benefits. Instead, Villages deliver whatever a member wants and needs to feel safe and comfortable in their homes, as well as connected to the community.
Community Building – These are services that foster meaningful community engagement and independence. Examples include in-home supports, such as home healthcare, volunteerism and civic engagement, and community activities.
Health and Wellness – Villages address health, prevention and wellness through relationships with hospitals, medical house call services, medical advocacy, health promotion and wellness classes, and support groups.
On May 17, 2011, the Archstone Foundation released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to support the expansion of the Village Movement in California. Through the Creating Aging Friendly Communities through the Expansion of Villages RFP, the Foundation is seeking to support villages across California to further understand and document the varying emerging models, support consumer driven culture change, and document best practices and lessons learned to inform replication and sustainability.
In response to the RFP, a total of 22 proposals were received from villages across the State of California. The following projects were funded under the Creating Aging Friendly Communities through the Expansion of Villages RFP during the Archstone Foundation's September 2011 Board meeting:
Ashby Village – The Ashby Village: Sustaining a Community Village;
Avenidas – Integrating Village Support with Clinical Care;
Community SeniorServ – Community SeniorServ Village Network;
Pomona Valley Community Services – ReAl Connections;
Plumas Rural Services – Community Connections;
San Francisco Village – Village San Francisco – Team 360: Making Aging-in-Community a Reality;
The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara Village;
Tierrasanta Village of San Diego – Tierrasanta Village of San Diego – Elder Guardian Angels;
WISE & Healthy Aging – WISE Connections: Your Neighborhood Resource for Aging Well;
NCB Capital Impact – technical assistance and convening of California villages; and
University of California, Berkeley – external evaluation of the initiative.
All funded Village Projects began October 1, 2011 and will end two years later on September 30, 2013. For more information on the above projects, please click here.