Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Connecticut

Aging in Place in Connecticut

Most Americans — 90% of them according to a recent AARP survey — would prefer to stay in their own homes as they get older rather than move into an assisted living facility or a retirement community.  Staying in their own home, they feel, allows them to maintain their connections to their communities and friends, permits them to retain medical professionals who know their medical history, and gives them the comfort and security of familiar surroundings. 

 "Aging in place" initiatives are spreading across the United States, mostly as grass-roots efforts. Spearheaded by residents of a town or community, these nonprofit organizations, sometimes called “villages,” enable those residents and their neighbors to continue to live safely in their own homes and communities as they age.
 
While most discussions of aging in place often focus on the benefits to the individual, there are also benefits to the community-at-large. By helping seniors remain self-sufficient, aging in place programs can

There are several models of aging in place organizations; the choice of model depends on the needs and resources of each community.  All provide some combination of

Most villages have opened in the past couple of years, an indication that the momentum is growing. This is partly fueled by the burgeoning number of Americans 65 and older, which is expected to more than double to 89 million by 2050, according to the Census Bureau. The downtrend in the housing market has also contributed to the growing interest in villages; since a lot of people can't sell their homes, relocating to assisted-living communities is not financially feasible. Baby Boomers who are dealing with the financial and emotional challenges of putting their parents in retirement homes also are driving the movement.

The first aging in place organization was Beacon Hill Village in the heart of Boston, created by a group of long-time Beacon Hill residents in 2001. It charges annual dues and delivers paid and volunteer help.  Beacon Hill has received calls from people across the USA who want to create villages in their neighborhoods, so this year it partnered with NCB Capital Impact, a non-profit community development group, to launch the national Village-to-Village Network to help other aging in place organizations get established. It is backed by funders such as the MetLife Foundation.

 How most villages operate:

Estimates for the actual number of villages in the United States vary.  The Center for Aging in Place Support (CAPS), located in Westchester NY, lists 47 organizations across the country, of which 6 are in the state of Connecticut: At Home in Greenwich, East Rock Village (New Haven/Hamden), Stay at Home in Wilton, Staying Put in New Canaan, Shoreline Helping Hands (South Central CT) and Aging My Way (Farmington Valley/West Hartford). A recent article (July 26, 2010) in USA Today, which got its information from the Village-to-Village Network, listed 50 active villages, three of which are in CT (At Home in Greenwich, Staying Put in New Canaan and Community Caring in Bridgewater) and another 100 in development, including three in CT (Community Fund of Darien, East Rock Village, Aging My Way). On the other hand, Our Shoreline Community Association in Noank/Mystic, which opened in Fall 2009, doesn’t appear in either list. There are probably many more of these organizations in the developing stages that are simply unknown to all but the local people who are working on establishing them.

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