New “Villages” Forming in Capital District; NYSOFA Commits Funds to Support Local Development

New and revived aging in place/community villages in the Albany suburbs of Bethlehem and Clifton Park have formed in recent months and other groups are meeting in the Schenectady suburb of Niskayuna as well as northern Columbia County to plan villages.   A steering committee has also been meeting in the City of Albany to consider how and where a potential village or villages would operate in city neighborhoods.  There is already a NNORC (Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) that has been operating for many years by Jewish Family Services in a part of the city.

Senior Services of Albany is also sponsoring Livingston Village in a renovated middle school turned into apartments.  Community Caregivers based in Guilderland, a suburb of Albany, has been providing village type services for over two decades and it is partnering to provide those services with Bethlehem Neighbors which recently was revived with a new Executive Committee after a dormant period.  Community Caregivers is also working with the Albany steering committee to consider partnering with a possible village there.

The Albany Guardian Society has played a key role in the development and support for villages, holding bi-monthly meetings for groups in the eastern part of the state.  Now, the Guardian Society has contracted with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) to hire staff and run a Villages Technical Assistance Center (VTAC).   Last year, the Guardian Society was the conduit for small village seed grants to four communities that came from NYSOFA.

The national Village to Village Network has grown to over 200 grassroots communities seeking to develop services and social supports to enable older persons to remain living independently.  A national conference is held every year and local groups are gaining expertise and skills in how to help residents with transportation, home repair services, friendly visiting, health education and social activities.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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