How Community Villages are Helping Seniors Fight Loneliness

18 December 2020

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  • No matter the age, human beings are inherently social creatures. 

  • Unfortunately, seniors often struggle with loneliness and social isolation in the late stages of their lives. Common factors such as living alone, losing loved ones, and medical problems can make older people feel even more disconnected from the people around them. 

Building Villages and Social Connections

Thankfully, seniors across the country are building ‘community villages’ to combat loneliness and build healthy social ties. 


Innovative community organizations such as the Village to Village Network and Village Movement California are creating social networks for seniors that enhance the aging process.  Open to people of all backgrounds, these ‘villages’ work to provide seniors with meaningful social connections and opportunities for growth.

Members of these villages take part in healthy programs and activities with other seniors looking to make friends. These membership-run organizations are also known to provide transportation services, help with chores, tech support, and engaging classes.

Making it Easier to Live at Home

By joining a village, seniors can actually increase their ability to age in place and at home. Many people prefer to age in place during the later stages of life but fear that they won’t be able to manage the demands of life alone. 

 

Seniors looking to stay in their homes are getting much-needed help from village communities that link them to neighbors and provide access to supportive services. A lack of access to these services is often the reason that older adults to move to retirement communities.

Through village communities, seniors can combine an array of assistance similar to that which is provided in retirement communities without having to abandon their homes. In fact, village seniors without caregivers often site support from their village communities for helping them get through difficult situations.

Intergenerational Village Connections

Village communities are also a great way to bring together people of all ages for a good cause. Many members are attracted by the opportunity to help other people while also gaining support for their own needs.

For example, some villages tap into local high schools to help seniors with technology lessons. These students also volunteer within village communities as part of broader community service initiatives. By creating ties between generations, communities help everyone live a more connected and supportive life.

Village Support Through COVID-19

Village communities have been incredibly important for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors living in community homes have been hit hard by the virus, and many lives have been tragically lost. Village networks have made it easier for seniors to get assistance and maintain relationships while still living in their own homes. Doing so has helped village members stay safe and avoid catching the virus. 

 

By leveraging video calls and other technology, village members can maintain relationships, get important pandemic information, and avoid isolation. Members of these communities also reach out to members via phone if they do not have online access. Volunteers also stepped up to deliver groceries to members and helping them adapt their daily lives to the new pandemic reality.

Finding a Village to Join

Seniors that join village communities are known to experience reduced isolation, increased independence, and an enhanced purpose in life. Thankfully, there are now hundreds of senior village communities across the country for seniors that are interested in joining one. 

 

Villages typically require a small annual membership fee to join, which gives members discounts to various services and a calendar of classes, trips, and social events.

The Village to Village Network has a helpful map on its website showing where member villages can be found. The Village Movement California also has a village locator for seniors living in Northern or Southern California.

Conclusion

In conclusion, village communities are making a big positive impact on the lives of seniors. By providing older adults with meaningful social connections, supportive services, and engaging activities, villages are improving senior’s quality of life and helping them stay at home longer. 

 

As time goes on, we expect more villages to pop up around the country as demand increases for these valuable services and social ties.

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