A Grass-Roots Effort to Grow Old at Home

The New York Times today has an interesting piece about a group of home-owners in Washington State who are banding together as “part of a movement to make neighborhoods comfortable places to grow old, both for elderly men and women in need of help and for baby boomers anticipating the future.”

Their group has registered as a nonprofit corporation, is setting membership dues, and is lining up providers of transportation, home repair, companionship, security and other services to meet their needs at home for as long as possible.

Urban planners and senior housing experts say this movement, organized by residents rather than government agencies or social service providers, could make “aging in place” safe and affordable for a majority of elderly people. Almost 9 in 10 Americans over the age of 60, according to AARP polls, share the Allens’ wish to live out their lives in familiar surroundings.

Many of these self-help communities are calling themselves villages, playing on the notion that it takes a village to raise a child and also support the aged in their decline. Some are expected to open this fall on Capitol Hill; in Cambridge, Mass.; New Canaan, Conn.; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Bronxville, N.Y.

I sympathize with them and wish them all the luck in the world!

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