A webinar called, ”The Loneliness Epidemic,” by The Society of Certified Senior Advisors, focused on the debiliting effects loneliness has on seniors as well as a much younger audience. Concerning the older adults, some causes for loneliness were: the death of a spouse, living alone at home and isolation. How does a Virtual Village benefit seniors suffering from lonliness?
As seniors age, they desire to live at home, also known as Aging in Place. According to the National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC) “more than 90 percent of older adults would prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing.” They should be encouraged to live where they want as long as they are able to get the services, support and socializing which maintain or improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, many times seniors do not have the knowledge or resources for their overall care.
One possible solution the webinar mentioned was a virtual senior community. I was surprised to find this to be a growing movement nationwide, known simple as the Village. The first Village began in Beacon Hill, near Boston, in 2001.
The Village program offers services and/or resources needed for the senior to successfully remain at home. Each Village differs based on their unique community characteristics. There are 8 Villages in Florida: Sarasota, Clearwater, Orlando, Jacksonville, Wellington, Maitland, Tallahassee and Miami.
Because of the growing success of the established Villages, Village to Village Network was created to encourage communities to establish their own Village, through the Village Model. http://vtvnetwork.org/
Here are some testimonies from Wellington Cares http://wellingtoncaresorg.com/testimonials/
“I do not feel comfortable driving long distances any longer, the Volunteers at Wellington Cares have provided me with the security of keeping not only myself safe but those around me as well.” – Participant
“Wow!! This is a great organization to have in our community, because we see so many people who could benefit from your services.” – Fire Rescue
“I have so many customers who can’t get out of their homes to pick up their prescriptions and ask why we don’t have delivery. I then have to send their prescriptions to be filled at another store that delivers. I will pass Wellington Cares information on to my customers. This is fantastic!!” – Walgreen’s Pharmacist
A Virtual Senior Village offers companionship, activities and resources for seniors living at home and may be the answer to live at home, prevent lonliness as well as maitain their quality of life. Is there one in your community?