How Senior Villages Are Improving the Aging Experience
April 29 2022
For many seniors around the country, getting older these days can feel like an isolating and difficult journey. Isolated and lonely seniors are more likely to live alone, lose friends and family, suffer from chronic illness, or have hearing loss.
In addition, loneliness and social isolation can lead to significant health concerns for seniors here in the United States and in other countries. This can include a higher risk of developing dementia and other serious health problems and diseases.
Thankfully, innovative senior communities around the country are looking to revolutionize what aging looks like for today’s older generation. For example, Village Movement California has created a membership organization that connects seniors to their community, programming, and expertise needed to continue living high-quality lives.
Villages are created by members of a community who provide structure and offerings that meet the needs of local seniors. This could mean a calendar of events and services provided by either staff members or volunteers. Villages also provide valuable referrals to seniors that need them and ensure that personal connections are at the core of their efforts.
One such village is known as ChaiVillageLA, which is a virtual community where seniors share their skills, support, expertise, and positivity with their peers. ChaiVillageLA is the first synagogue-based Village in the country and aligns itself with the values of its temples, the Reform Movement, and the wider Jewish community. It is a partnership between two reform synagogues – Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Temple Isaiah.
Starting in 2016, ChaiVillageLA started to provide member-run programs such as community get-togethers. In 2017, their efforts started to show success and additional services such as rides to synagogues and friendly visits were also added in.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, ChaiVillageLA shifted to “virtual” operations and continued to safely support its members due to social distancing requirements. There are over 235 members within the community as of today.
ChaiVillageLA’s mission statement: “To help our members have the best experience of aging possible, ChaiVillageLA provides congregants of Temple Emanuel and Temple Isaiah the community, resources, programs and mutual support needed to live lives of purpose, growth and joy.”
Senior “villages” such as ChaiVillageLA are critical in helping seniors maintain social ties and involvement in their communities. These connections make it possible for older adults to find the support they need in the later stages of life while also avoiding isolation and related health problems. In fact, with community support and social connections, many seniors can choose to age at home for longer than they may have been able to on their own.
ChaiVillageLA seniors thoroughly enjoy being part of such an active community. They can choose from a number of educational, social, and recreational programs that are always available for them. Members can also choose to serve on committees, organize events, teach a class, and much more.
As a community, ChaiVillageLA members make sure to help each other in many ways. This can include checking in on someone’s well-being, taking them to see the doctor, or just stopping by to say hello. Members also take the time to volunteer and help people in need within their community, such as homeless families and underprivileged youth.
As you can see, there are so many incredible benefits for seniors that join communities such as ChaiVillageLA. Being part of a supportive organization can help older adults thrive throughout the aging process while gaining valuable support and social interactions along the way.
Reducing isolation and loneliness is also critical to reducing the risks of dementia and other serious medical conditions amongst senior populations. Thankfully, these villages can help seniors age well and joyfully within supportive communities.
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