If This Works Everybody’s Gonna Want To Move To Vermont When They’re Old
What happens when you’re old, you’re not driving any more, you can’t take care of your house the way you used to, and you’re feeling isolated? A lot of people have to go far from their neighborhoods to move in with family or into senior housing. “I want to give my neighbors the opportunity to stay and continue to enrich our towns with their knowledge and kindness,” says Jeanne Hutchins. She’s the Executive Director for the Center on Aging at the University of Vermont, and she’s part of a grassroots organization that’s helping their older neighbors to thrive in their homes for as long as possible.
The idea got cooked up at the Pleasant Valley book group, 13 neighbors who started meeting when they were young-to-middle age people 28 years ago. Now they’re all seniors, and they thought it would be great to create a “Village Model” nonprofit (check out www.vtvnetwork to see what that means). It took about three years to build the network that is now “Mount Mansfield Villages.” Members can request rides to their doctor’s appointments, the bank and community lunches. There are (trained and vetted) volunteers available to perform small jobs around older people’s houses and yards. Members can even receive a daily phone call just to chat and make sure everything’s OK.
Jeanne and other Villages volunteers hope that Vermont will soon be filled with Villages helping neighbors to stay in communities, giving them opportunities to remain connected, learn new things, and teach others.
Our Awesome grant will help the Mount Mansfield Villages with insurance and background checks for volunteers.
We hope this idea catches on everywhere! (Pro Tip: start your own Village now so that it’s ready to take care of you when you need it.)