By Janet Goetze
For the Star News
Kaiser Permanente Northwest has awarded a $15,000 grant to The Village Movement to provide community-based support for older adults in the Portland area who wish to remain in their own homes as they age.
The Village Movement began in Boston 15 years ago as an alternative to retirement living. A “village” isn’t a place but a network of volunteers to help older people with transportation, household chores, yard work and technology.
“The Village is people. It’s their friendships, their sharing,” said volunteer Glenna Rhodes. “We want the Village to make our members’ lives better, but it also makes our volunteers’ lives better.”
Villages NW President Dr. Alison Bahr said the Villages help keep the population healthier, an important goal in the Kaiser Permanente overall plan to offer options for preventive health care.
“We are neighbors helping neighbors stay neighbors,” said Bahr. “By providing easy local opportunities for meaningful interactions and engagement, Villages mitigate against the isolation and loneliness older adults often experience as they become less mobile and their long-time network of family and friends narrows.”
The Village Movement, which has grown to 200 open villages across the country, is expected to be an alternative to retirement homes or assisted care, which is unaffordable for 75 percent of baby boomers, according to a news release from Villages NW. For more information call 503-515-1948 or visit www.villagesnw.org.