JFK, the Village Movement, and Societal Answers to Aging

As we get older, it becomes more and more evident that what we once considered “middle age” has changed.

People are living longer due to many things – better drugs, treatments, and cures, better technology which enables better living, and emphasis on a healthier, more thriving lifestyle.

Father's OldsmobileLike the hybrid Prius has increased energy efficiency and saved consumers money, aging in place ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile anymore. There are many things you can do to make the experience for yourself and your loved one a quality one at a place where they want to live.

Recently, an AARP survey indicated that 90% of of seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible.

One movement that’s starting to take shape all around the United States is the Village Movement. It’s concept is simple. Rather than be forced into a senior housing complex or assisted living facility, a collection of community residents, typically aged 50+ form a non-profit organization. The organization’s goal is to provide residents access to services that support the overall goal of staying in their own homes as much as possible. This article at PBS’s Next Avenue does a good job defining how the villages work. A village may be defined as a neighborhood just a few blocks long or could encompass a rural area with lots of mileage in between houses and towns. The main focus is for community members to step up, offer their time as volunteers, and help seniors live independently.

Most villages have between 150 and 200 members. The average resident is a middle-class, 74-year-old woman. Each member pays an annual fee — the average is about $435, but can range from $50 to $1,500.”

The concept plays on what most all baby boomers grew up with – a sense of loyalty to country, elders and volunteerism.

JFKWhen JFK said Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country, it meant something to people like me, even though I was only 1 year old when he said it. The phrase is etched in every baby boomer’s memory. 

Interesting facts which support the vision are available here:

  • 78 million members of the baby boomer generation are expected to live longer than previous generations
  • Of those who turned 65 last year, 20% will live to age 90
  • One in every 50 boomer women will reach 100 years old
  • More than 7 million of the 44 million Americans who act as family caregivers for someone over age 50 live at least an hour away from their loved one.
Imagine this: What if each village came up with a way to utilize SafeinHome as a new, revolutionary technology tool that could help volunteers and residents manage seniors by observing their day-to-day routine in the house, so they can stay in their homes longer?

The “village movement” would have the ability to serve more people and grow exponentially to aid seniors whose family caregivers live father away. It would give families peace of mind and help our aging loved ones stay in their homes a little bit longer.

Imagine that.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons and the JFK Library.

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