What is the village movement?

image of a senior couple riding a bike, speaking to each other, and otherwise enjoying the amenities of a VillageTwo generations ago, people knew their neighbors and families lived closer to each other. But times have changed, and with the cultural and economic shifts, local communities have lost their neighborliness. This has left a big societal gap, and people must be more intentional to get it back. One of the solutions to this is Village movements. Great, but what is a village movement?

The Village movement is a cost-effective option for seniors who’d like to age in place. They are often non-profit organizations that offer social engagement and support to aging seniors who’d like to maintain their independence. 

Think of a village movement as a coalition of villages that are independent and membership-driven. For instance, Village Movement California comprises over 44 villages while the Village Movement in Virginia comprises over 300 villages. Every village is unique and reflects the interests, character, and needs of the community that built it. Its leadership decides how it’s run and what it offers.

Note: While volunteers run most villages, some have paid staff and charge their members a monthly fee.

Who creates a senior village?

A village comes together through the collective efforts of forward-thinking individuals, families, community organizations, and often the senior members themselves!

The creation of a village often begins with a small group of dedicated people who see a need in their community for the supportive, neighborly environment that a village promises. This might be individuals who have elderly family members themselves, community organizers, or caring neighbors who want to make a difference.

Once the idea is sparked, the initial group typically expands to include others who share the vision. They might begin to hold community meetings, conduct surveys to understand the specific needs of their seniors, and even reach out to other villages for guidance and mentorship.

According to Susan McWhinney-Morse, the co-founder of Beacon Hill Village, villages have been successful in offering a sense of belonging and care, but the model needs to be scaled. This will ensure villages spread to underserved communities too. To achieve this, villages need help from state and local governments, or form partnerships with health care providers.

What does a village offer?

One of the beautiful aspects of the village model is its versatility. Each village is tailored to meet the unique needs of its community, which means that the services and amenities they offer can vary widely. Most villages share a common goal: to assist seniors in maintaining their independence and enriching their lives.

Some services they offer include:

  • Help with everyday tasks: Many villages assist with daily chores that might have become challenging for seniors. This could include everything from yard work, minor home repairs, grocery shopping, and meal prep. It’s all about making life a little easier.
  • Transportation: One of the major hurdles for seniors who live independently is transportation. Villages often arrange rides to medical appointments, social events, church, and errands. With a village, getting around town can become much less of a worry.
  • Health and wellness support: Many villages coordinate health and wellness programs such as exercise classes, nutrition workshops, and health screenings. Some even partner with home health care service providers like Trusted Touch Healthcare to offer in-home care services that help those with dementia or an illness.
  • Social and cultural activities: The village isn’t just about practical help; it’s also about living a full and vibrant life. That’s why many villages offer an array of social events like book clubs, trivia games, recipe sharing, movie nights, day trips, and hobby groups. It’s all about staying connected and having fun.
  • Information and advocacy: Navigating the modern world can sometimes be confusing. Villages often provide resources to help seniors understand everything from technology to healthcare options.
    – Sibo Ncube, founder of Trusted Touch Healthcare, advocates for seniors’ needs at a local level by volunteering with the Commission on Aging in Montgomery County. The Commission on Aging often advocates for the visibility and strength of villages.
    – Sibo also serves as a commissioner and committee member of the Aging in Community Committee. The AIC Committee collaborates with all the villages in Montgomery County to make sure that the villages have the support they need and are informed of all resources available for older adults in the County.
  • Neighborly support: Above all, the village offers a sense of community. It connects seniors with friendly, caring neighbors who are there to offer a helping hand, a listening ear, or simply a friendly chat over a cup of coffee.

Partnerships with trusted touch healthcare

Trusted Touch Healthcare has been doing some amazing work with villages in Maryland and the NW Washington DC area, serving as an integral part of these support networks.

Trusted Touch Healthcare specializes in providing professional home health nursing care for seniors, providing a gentle, caring presence that supports independent living while ensuring that all health and wellness needs are met. Our highly trained staff delivers excellent care, whether it’s helping with daily tasks, managing medications, or just being there for companionship and conversation.

But our role goes beyond providing support to seniors. We also offer respite care to primary caregivers, allowing them time to relax, recharge, and care for their needs. Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Trusted Touch Healthcare ensures caregivers can take a well-deserved breather, secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are in capable, caring hands.

If you’re part of a village in Maryland or considering forming one, partnering with a trusted in-home care provider like Trusted Touch Healthcare could be a fantastic way to expand the services you offer. Contact us today and explore the wonderful possibilities this partnership could offer.