For seniors around the country, aging with comfort and independence is a high priority. Many older adults want to stay at home for as long as possible; preferring to reside in environments that they are more familiar with. To make this a reality, seniors living in their own homes are turning to support from their friends, families, and local communities. Read more to see how seniors thrive in the California Village movement.
Fortunately, neighborhood-based membership organization’s are popping up for seniors interested in getting the support and socialization needed to thrive in their own homes. In California, there is a special coalition of grassroots community organizations known as the Village Movement California. This movement works to connect older adults to the community, programming, and expertise they need to continue living lives of purpose and promise.
Seniors thrive in California Village Movement
By participating in these innovative, community-based solutions, seniors can boost their quality of life by increasing their independence and staying connected to the people around them. Each village is created by members of the community and works to decide what events and services would best suite their specific needs. Some villages may decide to meet for breakfast once a week, take trips to the local museum, or even plan to travel together.
Village members are able to get support from thousands of intergenerational volunteers that provide a range of services to help keep seniors safe, supplied, and confident about aging in their own homes. One third of volunteers are actually village members themselves, and serve as board members, program leaders, drivers, grocery shoppers, and more. All volunteers are vetted and trained to provide caring relationships and high quality support to seniors. Village members are able to get support from thousands of intergenerational volunteers that provide a range of services to help keep seniors safe, supplied, and confident about aging in their own homes. One third of volunteers are actually village members themselves, and serve as board members, program leaders, drivers, grocery shoppers, and more. All volunteers are vetted and trained to provide caring relationships and high quality support to seniors.
For example, ChaiVillageLA, is the first synagogue-based village in the country, and it helps members strengthen their faith-based values while connecting the wider Jewish community. This village is based in Los Angeles and organizes activities such as group walks, senior fitness classes, and community service days for their members. Seniors that engage socially can develop a valuable sense of belonging and boost their self-esteem levels.
Another example is the Care Connections Network in Huntington Beach, California. Also a faith-based village, members are comprised of both congregation and community members. This village focuses on educational and social opportunities, such as monthly educational seminars and free lunches.
Benefits of Community Involvement for Seniors
Participating in community events and activities can also help ward off depression, loneliness, and stress. When seniors feel good and have positive energy around themselves, they are better able to thrive and live fulfilling lives. In fact, strong emotional bonds can help seniors build healthier lifestyles in a variety of ways. They may find themselves being more active, eating healthier foods, reducing their pain levels, and cutting down on fear and anxiety levels.
Village Movement California also advocates for aging adults with local and state policymakers to ensure that Californians have support for their senior communities. For example, the state’s Master Plan for Aging is an important focus of advocacy efforts. This plan affirms the priority of the health and well-being of older Californians and people with disabilities. As our population continues to age, we can also expect the village movement to scale and provide services to a larger number of people.
As you can see, the Village Movement California is a great example of how communities can come together to help seniors boost their well-being and stay at home for longer. With support from volunteers and community members, seniors can thrive through the social opportunities villages offer. Staying engaged in neighborhood-based organizations can make it easier for seniors to live healthy lives and feel a greater sense of purpose and belonging.
By Maneeza Hasan