Karin Kamp wrote an op-ed piece on Truth-Out.org titled Your Turn: Aging in America. In the piece, Kamp quotes from several persons regarding the difficult decisions they must make in order to care for aging relatives. Underscoring the piece is the fact that globally, and especially nationally, we are ill-prepared to address the financial and social impacts that an aging population presents.
The piece references an innovative village in the Netherlands that was built to make convalescent homes less institutional.
Here in the United States a similar approach was launched in 2002 called The Villages. The goal was to help older adults remain in their homes and communities as they age. To date, there are 66 villages across the nation assisting approximately 13,000 older adults. Additionally, there are 110 villages in varying stages of development.
The Villages offer a wide variety of resources from transportation to grocery shopping and light home maintenance. Additionally, social, educational, and health activities are offered. There is a single point of access for members wanting to obtain information on a myriad of services available for older adults.
Instead of impersonal convalescent homes, The Villages concept allows older adults to age with dignity and independence. Family members can rest knowing that their older relatives are in an environment that offers a wide variety of activities and programs. All around, this is an excellent concept and I hope to see the concept implemented in every region of the United States.