Village in the Heights in development to serve local seniors
Aging in the year 2015 is very different from what it was a generation ago. Today, more people live well into their 90s, many seniors have some form of a weekly work schedule, and even those who retire to their third act—the last two or three decades of their lives—strive to live fully and vibrantly in their homes.
In Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, a group of neighbors has been working to establish a “virtual senior village” in University Heights. The organization, to be known as Village in the Heights, is now in high gear with operational startup expected this fall. Membership for residents in University Heights is open to anyone 65 or older.
The concept of a virtual village is simple. Working with the idea of aging in place, villages are membership groups that help older adults remain in their homes, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, for as long as they are able. Members have access to a wide variety of no-cost or low-cost services, transportation, home maintenance, health and wellness programs, information about numerous community services, as well as local social and cultural connections.
Villages are new to Northeast Ohio, but have been in existence for more than a decade. The first one, Beacon Hill Village, started in Boston in 2002. With the number of Villages growing nationally to 80 in just a few years, the Village-to-Village Network was formed in 2008, as a resource for Villages in development and those already in existence.
More than 150 Villages now operate in 42 states, with 120 currently in development. Ohio currently has three other Villages, two in Columbus and one in Athens.
Village in the Heights will serve its members as consolidator of local services to seniors and by providing programming that its members want. The Village, as a grassroots, member-directed, nonprofit organization, will operate with extensive volunteer commitment.
Village in the Heights is currently vetting vendors and volunteers to build its membership support bundle. Numerous local businesses, community organizers and private foundations are in discussion with the Village’s development board to help create what will become the newest and most comprehensive Village in the United States, right here in Northeast Ohio.
For membership information, to volunteer, or for other inquiries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 216-906-6240.
Art Raby is a longtime resident of University Heights, a member of Gesu Parish, a retired engineer and volunteer with Village in the Heights.