A Village is a not-for-profit organization whose membership is comprised of older adults in a community who come together to help one another to stay in their neighborhood as they age.
Each Village member pays a yearly fee that the Village uses to provide support and services based on members’ resources, needs and preferences. Villages rely on volunteers and paid staff members help them access the services they need to stay in a place they call home.
Each Village’s members select a board of directors that guides the organization's work. They also depend on volunteers to provide services and assist with daily operations. Volunteers may provide transportation, cook meals and connect members with local resources to help them.
In some cases, members can volunteer and "bank" their hours to "spend" when they need help themselves. Some Villages also hire staff to provide administrative oversight of programs and services.
Both volunteers and paid staff often approach local businesses, like plumbers and financial advisers, to negotiate discounted rates for members. These individuals may also build strong connections with local aging experts, businesses, and relevant agencies and use these networks to connect members to the services and programs they need.
In addition, they may approach foundations to look for grant support for their work.
Villages may offer services that address members’ daily needs. These services include:
Some Villages may also offer "concierge" services. For example, the Beacon Hill Village Model in the well-known Boston neighborhood provides:
A Village’s yearly fee is dependent upon its location, service offerings and membership size.
Villages don’t just offer members access to discounted services. They also may present a sense of security that they can age with dignity and independence in their own homes. Just as important, they can provide an older adults’ loved ones with peace of mind about their family member’s safety and security as they age.
More information on Villages is available on the Village to Village Network.