Village Movement taking hold in Capital District

The Village Movement that has spread across the country with residents helping each other as they age to remain living in their homes and community is making strides in the Capital District. This grassroots effort usually includes forming a not-for-profit membership organization to offer services, programs, and social events that older adults value; typically, some or all of the offerings are provided by volunteers.

Bethlehem Neighbors, for residents of the town of Bethlehem, was relaunched in February at a gathering at the Bethlehem Public Library attended by over 40 people. A second public informational meeting for Bethlehem Neighbors will be held on May 15 in the evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the library.   

Bethlehem Neighbors originally was formed in the Colonial Acres neighborhood in Bethlehem and became inactive. Community Caregivers has provided support and assistance to re-develop Bethlehem Neighbors as a town-wide organization with a new slate of officers elected.

The new officers are still working on organizational development issues including membership criteria and developing committees to address needs such as home repair, health education, and other issues.   Community Caregivers and Senior Services of the Town of Bethlehem are working with Bethlehem Neighbors to support its activities and make sure to coordinate their services.

Meanwhile, Community Caregivers and other organizations have been meeting in the city of Albany to promote the development of the village concept there. Meetings have been held for several months with representatives of various neighborhoods and senior organizations to try and enhance support for persons in all neighborhoods.

Select areas of the city offer village-type support to older residents. For example, Senior Services of Albany has developed a Village in Livingston School Apartments on Northern Boulevard, which is a former middle school. The Whitehall-New Scotland area has state funding for a NNORC or Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, where there is a higher concentration of older residents.

In nearby counties, there are villages developing in the Clifton Park area with Shenendehowa Neighbors, northern Columbia County and a new effort has started in Niskayuna. The Albany Guardian Society has received funding from the State Office for the Aging to launch a Village Technical Assistance Center to provide support to local communities looking to explore how to develop a village.

The Albany Guardian Society also hosts the Capital Region Villages Collaborative, which meets bimonthly and is open for those interested in the Village Movement locally; please call 518-434-4120 for more information.


Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at 518-456-2898

Editor’s note: Michael Burgess is a program consultant for Community Caregivers.