German Village To Launch Plan To Help Seniors Age At Home

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Two years from now, nearly half the population with be 50 or older, according to the AARPm, and many of those people want to continue to live at home. Within the next 10 years they be able to do so more easily, thanks to the "Village movement."  German Village is launching the plan next month.

"Want to hang the wreaths?" Bob Mullinax asked his wife, Carol, and they tugged the large green evergreens out the front door.  

They stepped out on the sidewalk and studied the windows of their brick home. They moved to German Village six years ago after Bob returned from his job as an attorney.  They had a home in Riverlea with a large yard, but wanted to downsize.  They fell in love with German Village.

"I think it is one of the best communities around,"  Carol said.

They like the fact that people walk here...and that they meet neighbors walking to shops and restaurants.

"It's not like in the suburbs where people pull in their garage at night, close the garage door, go inside, and you never see them. You see the people who live in German Village. You get to know them.  You get to like them," Carol said.

They are are among the nation's 77 million baby boomers, and they know as they age that simple tasks, like hanging pictures, may get harder.  But they're clear that they don't want to move to senior housing.

"You know, I don't want to live with a bunch of old people, " Bob said, and explained that he prefers living in a neighborhood among people of all ages.

German Village has created German Village Connections as a way to help people age-in-place.  It's part of the national "Village" movement.

Beacon Hill Village in Boston started the Village movement in 2001.  Now there are more than 100 across the United States, according to the Village or Village Network.  They are designed to help communities managing services for seniors, so they can continue to live at home.  For a yearly fee, seniors are linked with volunteers who assist with transportation, social activities and trips, wellness programs, and minor home repairs.

Katie White was recently hired as the executive director for German Village Connections.

"It's kind of a concierge service, so anything you might need, you call the village and we connect you to those services,"  she said. "or if it's something more complicated...electrical wiring...then we have vetted vendors that will do these services for you at a discounted rate."

"Where assisted living or nursing homes might be appropriate for some people at certain levels of care,  what we found is the majority of individuals want to live in their home," she added.

To Carol and Bob, staying home means freedom, and means they can continue to afford the world travel they enjoy.  Bob estimated that they've visited 15 countries on four continents. He said that they would not be able to do that if they had to spend thousands of dollars each year in an independent living or assisted living facility.

"The cost of moving into one of those assisted living places would just be phenomenal, " Bob said.

So they were among the first people to sign up for German Village Connections.  The program costs 750 dollars a year for a couple, and 500 dollars for a single membership.