The Los Angeles Times has a good story today about Ashby Village in Berkeley, CA, a senior 'virtual village' that is representative of an increasing trend of service networks intend to promote aging in place. The article quotes a researcher as saying that the number of such 'villages' is growing exponentially.
The virtual village in Berkeley is one of 65 nationwide, with 120 more in the works. The volunteer-driven networks are meant to help seniors continue living in their homes by delivering a multitude of services they no longer can do for themselves and to help them stay engaged through social events.
What started with the first village in 2001 in Boston has become a fast-growing phenomenon that could fill a crucial gap as baby boomers age and longevity increases. By 2050, demographers project that 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older, part of a "silver tsunami."
"I think this is going to be the way of the future," said Berdeen Coven, a psychologist leading the drive to launch the Silicon Valley Village, expected to open by June. "There just aren't going to be enough private facilities for people to age in, and we have to get together and help each other out as we live longer."
The article provides financial information for the nascent Silicon Valley Village:
Coven, with the Silicon Valley Village, said about 20 volunteers are working to launch it once they secure enough start-up funding, expected mostly from individuals.
"Our goal is $100,000 so we won't ever have to close our doors," Coven said.
The village will charge $800 annually per person, or $950 per household. It will start small, serving Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and parts of Campbell, and add 100 members yearly until it's serving most of Santa Clara County.
The article also mentions that UC Berkeley's Center for Advanced Study of Aging Services, with the financial support of the Archstone Foundation, is conducting a three-year study of Ashby Village to determine the qualities most likely to support the long-term viability of such 'villages.'