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Articles

How Can a "Village" Help You?

By Mia H. Lahti on April 5, 2021
In our work as estate planning and elder attorneys, we find that most people prefer “aging in community” – that is, living at home independently for as long as is safely possible. However, as we age, we encounter an increasing number of physical challenges as well as isolation. The “Village Movement” seeks to support older residents who wish to stay safe and independent while also being connected to their communities.

The Village Movement was developed on Beacon Hill in 2002, and now consists of more than 300 Villages across the country. These Villages are membership-driven, grassroots nonprofit organizations that are run by volunteers and paid staff. Village services can include transportation, simple home repairs, and social and educational events. Villages also maintain a list of local, vetted and discounted vendors to help members live comfortably and safely at home.

I have been a Board member of my local Village in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, the “Coastal Neighbors Network,” which now covers both Dartmouth and Westport, MA. Coastal Neighbors, with the leadership of its Executive Director and volunteers, was able to assist all our service members in getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. Anyone who has tried to navigate the online or phone-in registration for vaccines can appreciate how important that kind of assistance can be!

Although the pandemic initially limited the kinds of in-person services that Coastal Neighbors could provide, the services providing rides to medical appointments have continued, as well as virtual social and educational programs. There is an annual membership fee, and many Villages like Coastal Neighbors have scholarship funds if the fees are too steep. Then there’s the choice of joining as either a member who supports the organization and participates in social activities, or as a member (single or couple) who receives services from the vetted and trained volunteers, and who can also participate in Village-sponsored activities.

If you want to find out if your community has a Village, you can visit the Village to Village Network’s website (vtvnetwork.org) and, under the “About” tab, click on “Village Map.” Or check out the website for Helpful Village (helpfulvillages.com), and under “Village Movement” click on “Find a Village near you!” If you find that you don’t have a Village in your community, Helpful Village can assist in starting one. The Village Movement approach can help communities develop their own Villages, and allow seniors to comfortably and confidently age in their own homes.   FT




©2021. This material is intended to offer general information to clients and potential clients of the firm, which information is current to the best of our knowledge on the date indicated below. The information is general and should not be treated as specific legal advice applicable to a particular situation. Fletcher Tilton PC assumes no responsibility for any individual’s reliance on the information disseminated unless, of course, that reliance is as a result of the firm’s specific recommendation made to a client as part of our representation of the client. Please note that changes in the law occur and that information contained herein may need to be reverified from time to time to ensure it is still current. This information was last updated April 2021.
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