Creating ‘villages’ on Cape Cod so seniors can age in place


There are communities you push by with stoplights, retailers, “Welcome to” symptoms and all that. There are virtual communities, enthusiasts of hairless cats, individuals on Zoom occupying a screen together.

Somewhere amongst these two extremes are the varieties of communities I want to notify you about right now. These are communities, also regarded as “villages,” fashioned and sure together on the foundation of require on one hand and eagerness to assistance on the other.

Just about every village begins with a nearby, grassroots exertion by a number of volunteers in the neighborhood who want to assist their getting older neighbors prosper. Therefore, even though villages have their essential techniques in typical, they may range to some degree in the particulars. All of them enhance what senior centers, Elder Products and services of Cape Cod & the Islands and other service businesses on Cape have to give.

Lawrence Brown

Lawrence Brown

Villages are, by structure, organized to help “seniors” who want to age in their homes and communities but could want a small help to get about or for compact tasks in the house. Their solutions involve organizing social occasions, in-home assignments and insignificant domestic repairs, transforming smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries, hanging pics, modifying light-weight bulbs and getting out trash barrels, to identify a several.

“Villages” provide transportation to and from clinical appointments, hairdressers, barbers, grocery searching and visits to senior facilities. The villages provide technological guidance with Personal computer and Mac desktops, cellphone and pill set up, and aid with printers, TVs and remotes.

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There are now five villages serving parts of Cape Cod and the Islands. You can Google these by title: Community Falmouth, Barnstable Neighbor 2 Neighbor, Bay to Sound Neighbors, Nauset Neighbors and Vineyard Village at House. Together, they serve much more 500 Cape Codders. Businesses are not still up to go over Mashpee, Sandwich, Truro or Provincetown.

Google to come across the “village” closest to you. Timetable an in-property take a look at to talk about your desires and see how the organization can help you. Membership costs are reasonable minimized costs are made available primarily based on require.

Why are there expenses at all? Since even if volunteers and administrators pretty much generally function for absolutely free, brochures, mailings and legal responsibility insurance policy all expense dollars — specially the previous merchandise. Component of the yearly costs supports the national business.

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The initial “village” opened in Boston’s Beacon Hill community in 2001 and has been growing ever because. There are presently a lot more than 250 operating villages and 50 establishing villages in 45 states across the region. There is a nationwide firm called the Village to Village Community centered in Chicago that assists and mentors recently forming villages.

When I initial listened to of all this, I was bewildered. Neighbor to Neighbor, Village to Village, which was it? Then I realized that different communities have their individual names for their particular village.

“One particular of the finest issues I at any time did,” explained one Barnstable member. “Every volunteer I have come into make contact with with has been superb and incredibly valuable. They are organized and display screen the volunteers well for the reason that anyone is wonderful. I notify anyone about them.”

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New volunteers are completely screened and vetted. If you or a beloved 1 will need assist, that is great to know right before opening your doors to an individual new. Volunteers are covered by the organization’s liability insurance policies unless driving, wherever the owner’s automobile coverage addresses points.

COVID disrupted the method badly. People today significantly lowered contacts. Volunteers were hesitant to be uncovered — as had been consumers. For that reason, the volunteer networks require to be rebuilt. Often in this place, I inform you about organizations’ benefits to our neighborhood — and their want for money. Right here, they will need volunteers.

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Do not fret about becoming overcome. Each early morning, the corps of volunteers get an electronic mail, listing who in the group needs what. Also fast paced? You can move and depart other people to fill in. You only take on what you can manage.

Meanwhile, as we arise from COVID, we are reminded that loneliness is the silent plague of our age. Although the internet promised to link the world, it has in its place isolated teenagers and persons of all ages. The aged bowling leagues and civic corporations — even in-retailer searching — are withering. Volunteers stand to achieve as a lot as the individuals they take a look at.

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Contacts, encounter to encounter, remind us of something elementary. As much as we need enable, we have to have to give, too. Human connectedness and open up-heartedness, are as crucial to us as air. Here’s a expanding motion previously serving some 700 souls on Cape Cod.

Take into consideration where by on the spectrum, needful — or in a placement to support out — you belong, then examine out the “village” close to you. You may be astonished who rewards most.

Lawrence Brown is a columnist for the Cape Cod Times. E-mail him at [email protected].

This article initially appeared on Cape Cod Times: Cape Cod: Village to Village volunteers help seniors age in area


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