Neighborhoods help seniors age in place
Be it ever so humble, for many of us there’s no place like home – except when we reach our senior years and almost everything seems too much for us to handle. In some parts of Philadelphia, organizations have formed to provide the kind of help people need to “age in place,” an increasingly popular concept. Both Penn’s Village and the Rhawnhurst Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) operate largely on the basis of volunteer labor, but organizational models and funding differ.
Penn’s Village relies on volunteers to help elders who live in Center City from the Schuylkill to the Delaware Rivers, from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden Street. The organization provides all sorts of services so seniors can lead vibrant, active and healthy lives while staying in their own homes and in the neigborhoods they love.
It takes a “Village”
According to Jane Eleey, executive director of Penn’s Village, the “village” strategy for aging in place began in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood in 2001. Today there are more than 145 villages in the U.S., plus in Canada, Australia and The Netherlands. Penn’s Village was established in 2008.
“Our goal is to create a supportive community where people can stay in their own homes as they age, with the confidence that they are safe and connected to familiar surroundings, friends and services,” says Eleey. Penn’s Village provides its services thanks to more than 60 volunteers. Eleey, 68, works part time, and is the only person on salary. One phone call or e-mail message brings village members a wide range of volunteer services, including transportation, companionship, home organization, yard work, and light home repairs.