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Village Movement

A “village” is a group of  people in a geographic area who come together to figure out and develop the resources they will need to age comfortably in their own homes. Like Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), villages embrace the strategy of bringing services to people rather than moving people to services.

The first village—Beacon Hill Village in Boston—began a decade ago when 12 older adults joined forces to create a way for them to “age at home” and remain independent as long as possible. There are now over 190 villages nationwide with over 185 more in development. There are over 55 villages in California.

The purpose of villages is to enable people to age in place as well as they can for as long as they can for as little as they can. Villages do this by providing the services and support people need to be able to age in place, but can no longer safely do themselves. Examples include: climbing on ladders to change a light bulb, doing yard work, driving at night, spring cleaning, simple home repairs, transportation to and assistance with grocery shopping.

This kind of “village” is not a real estate development or a retirement community. Village members continue to live in their own homes and can be homeowners, renters, seniors sharing housing or living with relatives. All village members’ homes are located somewhere within the geographic boundaries/service delivery area of the village (but are rarely adjacent).

 Most villages nationwide are self-governing 501c3 nonprofit membership organizations run by a Board of Directors elected by the village members. They are supported by a combination of fees, grants and fundraising.