IS 90 thE nEw 70? AGING IN PLACE: BETTER HEALTH, SENIOR VILLAGES AND TECHNOLOGY MAKE AGING AT HOME EASIER
senior villages, multi-level independent and assisted living facilities that include memory-assisted services, and investment from major corporations to develop new technologies to help people remain independent as long as possible. Research has pinpointed some essentials to well-being that need to be in place for this to be successful. They include communication and engagement, health and wellness, contribution and legacy and home safety and security. How this can be achieved is taking shape in many different ways across the country.
Lincoln Park Village members Baila and Irv Miller greet member Debra Rosenberg
There is a growing nationwide movement that is creating a community allowing people to age in their own homes. It’s not a physical community of elders isolated from the rest of society, but rather a virtual gateway to resources, linkages, and advocacy that gives members access to help on a myriad of levels while living in their neighborhood. It is a concept that started ten years ago in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood when a group of like-minded citizens formed Beacon Hill Village, a way that older people could more easily access the services that would help keep them in their homes. Other members, younger neighbors and youth groups help out and there are vetted contractors for hire. The idea spread around the country. There are at least 56 villages now operating in the country with over 100 others in the works. Last year the Village to Village (VtV) Network formed to give guidance to those who want to form new villages. We have one here in Chicago. Lincoln Park Village
taying at home can become increasingly difficult as people age. Suddenly changing a light bulb, picking up a prescription, or getting to a doctor’s appointment can become problematic and frustrating. Asking for help is a painful proposition for a lot of seniors proud of their independence...................... ....For the next twenty years, baby boomers will turn sixty-five at the rate of 10,000 per day according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Not only does this shape difBY MARILYN SOLTIS ferent views on aging, it affects everyone concerned about aging parents, especially if they don’t live close by. This is sparking a number of new movements like aging in place, 24 CHICAGO LIFE
In 2007 three couples wanted to start a village in Chicago based on what was going on in Beacon Hill. They used the manual, formed a non-profit and in 2008, Dianne Campbell came on board as Founding Executive Director, opening a small office at 2502 N. Clark with some part-time help. “It’s a neighbor to neighbor grass roots effort with the support and help of friends. We are not a facility-we are a plan. I’ve been blown away by the 87 volunteers who roll up their sleeves to create this pioneering effort,” says Campbell. The youngest member of the village is 50, the oldest is 94. Through an alliance with DePaul University and Loyola University there is a cross generation of younger and older people. “If we can solve a problem with volunteers, we do that first,” says Campbell. It could be help with decluttering, for example. There is a Spring Cleaning service day with De Paul volunteers who help with computers, clean windows and replace light bulbs,
PHOTO: HOLLIS HINES
It takes a village—but not just for kids.