Keeping the elderly in their hometowns

The USA Today reports on efforts by communities to help the elderly grow old in their hometowns. These communities have built “villages” where services for the elderly are coordinated. According to the article:

More than 50 villages in a neighbor-helping-neighbor system have sprouted in the past decade from California and Colorado to Nebraska and Massachusetts. They are run largely by volunteers and funded by grants and membership fees to provide services from transportation and grocery delivery to home repairs and dog walking…

AARP research shows that 90% of people want to grow old in their home and community.

This would seem to be wise for communities: the elderly know many useful things about a community, have made many connections among residents, and can teach and mentor a younger generation. Communities and suburbs without elderly residents are missing a key piece of their own social fabric.

In the Chicago area, when suburbs talk about “affordable housing,” they are not always talking about housing for low-income residents. They are often referring to programs that would help the elderly remain in places where costs of living make it difficult for residents to live on limited incomes.