Representatives of grassroots senior neighborhoods and villages in the Capital District joined with experts leading villages in the Northeast and the national Village to Village movement in Albany yesterday. They came together to discuss steps building successful local villages around the country. Leaders of villages in Westchester and Cape Cod along with Natalie Galucia, the Village to Village Network national director from St. Louis, took part in the program sponsored by the Albany Guardian Society which is planning to facilitate and support local groups interested in villages and aging in place/community projects. The village movement started with Beacon Hill Village in Boston as neighbors banded together to form self help, co-op type associations to provide services to dues paying older persons to help them to remain living in the community. In New York State recent new villages have sprung up in Rhinebeck and Ithaca. Here is a link to the villages operating or in formation in the state.
In the Capital District, representatives from a existing village in the Glens Falls area attended along with others from several towns including Glenmont, Glenville, Guilderland and the City of Albany where Senior Services of Albany has just launched Livingston Village. That village in north Albany is located in a renovated public school that has become apartments.
It is a very inspiring movement that is being run at the grassroots level to create a “new aging services network” according to Lois Steinberg, the director of the Center for Aging in Place in Westchester County. She discussed how the nine villages in the county help to give meaning to older persons who become volunteers. They create new friendships and connections at a time in life that is often characterized by losses of friends and a narrowing social network. She said the villages help to keep people at home, out of nursing homes and paying taxes. People are happier and healthier if they have a social support system offered by the villages.
For more information about future meetings, you can contact the Albany Guardian Society at (518) 434-2140.