Senior villages are local, non-profit organizations offering support and community services for aging-at-home seniors. They are all volunteer-driven, and aim to be the connection between volunteers and services needed for seniors in their community. Services available vary widely based on the volunteer availability. Some common services include:
- grocery shopping
- IT support
- home maintenance help
- dog walking
- doctor visit assistance
- help with insurance
In addition to services to help seniors in their homes, some villages offer opportunities for exercise, lectures, book clubs and other social activities. They may also have care coordinators and social workers to help members with access to medical services and finding proper home care if needed.
The first senior village was founded in Beacon Hill, Boston in 2002. Beacon Hill grew so fast that they decided to publish a how-to manual for setting up a senior village. There are now more than 200 villages all across the country. Villages are most common in urban areas where there are enough volunteers to match the demand from members. Some Village offices have paid administrative staff while others operate solely on a volunteer basis. Membership is free in some villages, but often villages with permanent administrative staff will require a yearly membership fee to help cover their administrative costs. Some villages use membership fees to cover services their seniors need but are unavailable from volunteers.
Washington DC is home to some of the most well established villages in the country: the Washington Area Villages Exchange can help you find the one nearest you. We encourage you to reach out to your local village to help make aging-at-home easier.