Ashland At Home and the Village Movement
AARP and other organizations’ surveys repeatedly reveal that nearly 90% of older adults would prefer to stay in their own homes for the rest of their lives and to live out their days among friends in familiar surroundings.
In the summer of 2009 a group of Ashland residents began to explore ways to link neighbors and neighborhoods into a local support network that would help us live independently in our homes as we age.
The result of that effort is Ashland At Home (AAH), modeled on what has come to be known nationally as the “Village Movement” – an alternative retirement lifestyle that is fundamentally redefining the nature and scope of what it means to be retired. The AAH Business Plan that was written prior to AAH’s “opening” in July 2012, describes how AAH was developed and how it intends to evolve. In May 2013 AAH entered into a cooperative partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Southern Oregon University.
Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we all experience a decline in health, energy, and the ability to manage as the years go by. The loss of a spouse or significant other can leave us quite alone to cope with daily chores and living, and more often than not, lonely for companionship as well. And with the increased social mobility of today’s world, many families no longer live close to each other so children, who in earlier times were nearby to help parents as they aged, may live far away.
Through the Village Movement other communities have already successfully confronted these realities. What is quite wonderful is that the village community, by its very nature, promotes engagement, connection, and awareness of those around us. There are more than 200 Villages in operation across the U.S. (with a few in other countries), and a nearly equal number in various stages of development.
Perhaps community, independence, and interdependence are the cherished qualities we seek most as we grow older – the very qualities that are firmly embedded in Ashland At Home.