The Villages: A Growing Option for Aging in Place

The villages concept offers an option for meeting the needs of the aging population by making it possible for people to stay in their communities and “age in place.” Neighborhood residents, through a membership model, create villages to help coordinate and deliver services and support to each other within their communities, delaying or even preventing the need for institutional care.

The Village Movement

The village concept aims to “support the medical, functional, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of older adults.” Villages reflect their communities through variations in design, capacity, and operation. Many older adults join these villages because of a desire to remain in their homes and not be dependent on family members and friends.

Villages are committed to maintaining and strengthening members’ connections to their community while providing needed services and supports. While the range of services varies, they typically include information referrals, home care, access to transportation services, and assistance with household tasks, as well as access to social and educational activities.

The village concept is not a provider model and does not have license requirements. Instead, these are nonprofit organizations governed by a board of directors and operated either by a mix of paid staff and volunteers or solely by volunteers. Staff provides administrative oversight, coordination, and delivery of services, or other assistance that a member may need. Volunteers are a critical component of the village concept — many assist with daily operations and deliver services (e.g., taking a member to the doctor’s office, helping with groceries).

Marin Villages — In Marin, the local villages provide a variety of programs allowing members to stay engaged, meet neighbors, and participate in life-enriching events. A volunteer infrastructure helps meet the needs of the village members, including rides to doctor appointments, pet sitting, and household and computer help.

Local villages organized by Marin Villages:

Sausalito Village is organized independently with its own membership structure