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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is Howard County ready for a "senior village?"

    In the next 10 to 15 years the projected population of Howard County that is over 55 years old will reach 30% of the total population.  Currently the median age in Howard County is 38 which is a dramatic change from from 1980 when the median age was just 18.  In light of this aging of our population yesterday a group Howard County residents met at the Miller Library to continue discussions about the creation of a senior village or community in the County.  I have blogged on the concept a couple of months ago.  Yesterday the group discussions centered around the services to be provided to members of the senior community, the geographic area of the community and the cost to be a member.  Last year Rutgers University did a study that describes the village concept.

"Since the early 2000s, there has been a growing body of research, policy, and practice focused on transforming social and physical environments to improve older adults’ quality of life and ability to age in place in the context of their broader communities.  During this time, Villages have emerged as among the most nationally prominent models of community aging initiatives. Villages are “self-governing, grassroots, community-based organizations developed with the sole purpose of enabling people to remain in their homes and communities as they age.”
      The Village concept emerged in 2001 with the founding of Beacon Hill Village (BHV) by a group of seniors living in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, who sought a way to help one another live as long as possible in their neighborhood. Since BHV’s development, more than 85 similar initiatives known as “Villages” have opened in the U.S., with at least 120 more in development. While there is great diversity in how Villages structure their services, it is typical for Villages to use a “tiered” service delivery model to address the needs of their members, including some services provided to members directly by Village staff, some services provided through member-to-member volunteers, some provided by non-member volunteers, and some services referred to external “preferred providers” whose services are usually vetted and sometimes discounted for Village members.  Other unique characteristics of the Village model include its focus on social engagement and community building (such as through member social events and engaging community members of all ages in Village activities), integrating formal and informal systems of support, breaking down service delivery silos, and promoting civic engagement (such as by providing volunteer opportunities for members and involving older adults on governance boards)."

    While no final decisions were made at yesterday's meeting there did seem to be enough interest to continue discussions on the development of senior village in some parts of Howard County.  For a more detailed description of the village concept this AARP article gives a fuller description.  

P.S. 1
From the Howard County Historical Society:


This all-day trip will leave from the parking lot near the HCHS Museum and the Circuit Courthouse promptly at 9am and return at 5pm. The bus tour will begin at the Maryland Historical Society where we will see the original “Star-Spangled Banner” and receive a guided tour of the extensive exhibit on The War of 1812. We will also pause at the monument to the war which adorns the Baltimore City Seal and flag. Then we will visit the Flag House of Mary Pickersgill who made the flag that flew over Fort McHenry. Then it’s on to the fort itself for another tour and lunch. Additional sites will include Patterson Park, Northpoint Park where the British landed to attack Baltimore with its army, and nearby Todd’s Inheritance.
                                Seating on our Eyre Couch is limited so sign up early!
Ticket prices are $75 for HCHS Members and $85 for non-members (includes a box lunch). Tickets can be purchased at the Miller Branch Library or online until April 26th:

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