Shoreline Village: A plan for aging in your home, Part Three

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photo courtesy Senior Services

This is the third of a four-part series about the Village that is being planned for Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and North Seattle

The Village is a membership-based organization with paid staff who act as a personal, central resource to coordinate access to services for you. The services will help you stay in your home as you age and could be provided by trained neighborhood volunteers, or you might be referred to screened vendors for more complex needs and services. Many Villages also offer social and activity groups.

A Village for Shoreline:  Part Three

How Does a Village Work?

A Village is a collaborative effort between community members in the form of: Volunteers, screened Vendors and the Members themselves. Each of these parties can give something and receive something. All of the residents value community and intergenerational relationships. 

NEST Village in Seattle describes it like this:

“With one phone call, Members access benefits:
  • Family members feel less stressed and isolated. 
  • Neighbors of all ages become more deeply engaged in their communities. 
  • Neighborhoods feel safer and more friendly. 
  • Businesses see more customers and become more closely linked with their neighborhood. 
  • Village Members receive dignified assistance when and if they want it, connections with their community, and can stay in the houses and neighborhoods they love. 
The Village:
  • matches members with volunteers to assist with daily tasks like transportation, household tasks, and staying physically active.
  • organizes events and activities for learning and fun
  • maintains a list of pre-screened professionals and discounts at local businesses”
Villages work because they make it easier for people to connect in the ways that they want to. Whether for social activities or a hand around the house, Villages connect neighbors.

What Kind of Volunteering Could I Participate In?

Key players in all villages are the volunteers. Volunteers have the chance to provide the extra helping hand and neighborly support that makes it easier and safer for neighbors to stay in their homes as they age. Volunteers can
  • Provide transportation to doctor’s visits, grocery stores, haircuts and other errands 
  • Assist with computer and internet use 
  • Help in the garden 
  • Facilitate a member group 
  • Climb a ladder 
  • Work in the office 
  • Take a walk 
  • Extend a friendly visit 
  • Plan events 
Volunteers have the freedom and flexibility to say yes or no to any volunteering opportunity. Depending on your interests and availability, volunteering can be something you do regularly each week or one time.

What About Professional Services?

Many Villages also screen local professionals and businesses (via background and reference checks) so their services can be offered through the Village. These might include plumbers, electricians, painters, auto mechanics, etc. This is an excellent benefit to local businesses. The idea is that when a member calls the village for a referral, one of the previously screened vendors can be contacted. This saves the member the job of researching professionals and relying on sketchy information. Many times, the vendors even offer a discount to members. 

So, to make a village work, everyone can participate regardless of age. You could be a member, a volunteer, or a local business.

Curious? To find out a bit more, including when the next meeting is, please contact Joanne Donohue at Senior Services, 206-727-6206

See other articles in this series


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