On Feb. 15, more than 300 villages across the country, including three in Clackamas County, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the nationwide Village Movement. The U.S. House of Representatives is designating National Village Day to recognize a nonprofit movement that supports what is often called aging in place.
Clackamas County groups supporting seniors include Rivers East Village in Milwaukie to Gladstone, Village at the Falls in Oregon City to Redland, and a village for West Linn-Lake Oswego to Stafford Hamlet. The Village Movement started in 2002 with a group of friends who did not want to leave their community in retirement. Intent upon staying, they launched the Beacon Hill Village in Massachusetts.
Village volunteers provide transportation, home repairs, technology support as well as social and educational activities. Membership reduces overall cost of care and provides some of the services members need to age safely and successfully in their own homes.
The Portland Metro area hosts 11 villages operating within a single nonprofit organization, Villages NW. Each village is an interdependent community of neighbors helping neighbors. Village members are individuals and couples who prefer staying in their homes and neighborhoods rather than moving into retirement communities.
However, villages are not just for those near or already into retirement, said Rivers East Village Chair Kay Weaver.
"They are for people of all ages who value being part of their community and want to strengthen their community links, including through volunteering," Weaver said.
Village members Pat Matthews and Carol Bosworth recently sent a thank-you letter to Rivers East Village.
"Your volunteers have helped us many times in various ways over the two years we have known you," they wrote. "We are thankful for your caring check-ins, your sturdy volunteers, their willing services, prompt timing, gracious friendly presence when we have needed them, and overall amazing willingness to help us with the needs we have had."
To learn more about villages in the Portland area, visit villagesnw.org.
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