Social networking for seniors in Tigard, King City and Tualatin
When Terry Hall was considering a move north from Redding, California, to the Pacific Northwest, he knew he'd be coming into a community where he didn't know a lot of people — especially people his age.
Hall, who is retired, was pleased to find an organization called VillagesNW, which coordinates 11 "villages" throughout the Portland area. Members of a village organize activities together, help neighbors out when they are dealing with an illness, disability or loss, and form a social network that is meant to be a welcoming environment.
The problem, Hall said, is that he ended up moving to Tigard. Villages cover a specific geographic area. Right now, Tigard isn't included in any of them.
Now, Hall hopes to change that by launching what he is calling TiKiTu Village — a portmanteau of Tigard, King City and Tualatin, the cities he plans for the village to cover.
"I tried to find a place within an existing village, and I really couldn't find something I wanted," explained Hall, who lives in the Summerfield neighborhood.
Older adults, like Hall, often don't have social opportunities built into their day-to-day lives. When a person is out of the workforce, doesn't have family living with them, and may have lost friends, neighbors and loved ones to death or mental decline, they may feel lonely and isolated.
"There's sort of a hole in our care system, with the change in the way families operate," Hall said. "Between the time you retire and quit working and the time you need to be in a home and have someone take care of you all the time, there's a big hole there."
The Village to Village Network was founded in Boston in 2010 to address that particular social need.
"Through innovation, collaboration, advocacy and inclusion, the Village to Village Network expands opportunity, choice, support and care for all older people," its website states, summarizing the nonprofit organization's vision.
VillagesNW is the Portland-area branch of the Village to Village Network, connecting 11 villages — soon an even dozen, Hall hopes.
To some extent, Summerfield and King City already provide group activities and social events for older adults through their civic associations. Each civic association operates a clubhouse and organizes members and officers.
But the Summerfield and King City civic associations mostly operate on their own, separate from one another and from residents of other areas. Hall wants there to be opportunities for older adults elsewhere in Tigard, as well as in Tualatin, to participate in the TiKiTu Village, and he wants to bring people from across the region together.
"It's going to be real interesting here where I am," Hall predicted.
It can take time to set up a village, Hall said. He's not sure how long it will take for him to achieve a critical mass for the village to get going, but he hopes to have it active relatively soon.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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