Age in place by joining WLLO Village
One in every 50 women who are age 65 right now will live to be 100. Every day, another 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 nationwide, and it is generally assumed that they will live longer than previous generations.
Most of those boomers plan to age in place in the home and community they know and love. Can it be done?
Proponents of the Village Movement believe it can. The Village Moment, founded in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood in 1999, is not a physical place. It is a membership-driven, volunteer-based organization dedicated to providing services needed to help people age in place. It's about neighbors helping neighbors stay neighbors, the group says.
In February, a posting on the social media site Nextdoor served as the catalyst for the launch of local branch of the movement, called WLLO Village. The acronym stands for West Linn/Lake Oswego, and it's pronounced "Willow."
"We are a group of like-minded people in the cities of West Linn and Lake Oswego who believe that most seniors would prefer to age in their own homes and communities, with a little help from their neighbors," said Noreen LeSage, an organizer for WLLO Village. She said WLLO Village supports the aging-in-place model by:
N creating a network of trained volunteers to help with tasks that become too difficult to be performed safely as people get older;
N providing a "one call" information and needs-matching service that will refer members to local resources and vetted service vendors to help with projects that the Village cannot or does not do; and
N building relationships and developing a sense of community through social activities so members feel comfortable, supported and socially connected with others.
LeSage said loneliness and isolation are prevalent among people older than 60, and both have physical and psychological effects on people.
"Because of the social activities and inclusive nature of a Village, members experience reduced isolation, increased independence and enhanced purpose of life," LeSage said. "In many cases members are also volunteers. Seniors don't just want to receive services, they want to give back and feel like they are contributing. In our survey, the most requested services so far have been for social activities and companionship, not for someone to clean the gutters."
The WLLO Village organizational team will host a WLLO Village Celebration from 4:30-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Lake Theater and Café (106 N. State St. in Lake Oswego). At the event, they will share the progress that has been made on forming WLLO Village, the timeline to launch the concept, how a Village works and how people can get involved.
Anyone unable to attend the celebration is imnvited to a coffee at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 11, at Lark Café (1980 Willamette Falls Drive, Suite 120, in West Linn).
There are currently six open Villages in the Portland metro area and two Villages in development, including the WLLO Village. To learn more, call LeSage at 503-709-2839.