‘Villages’ help elders remain in Capital District

The Village to Village Network (“Villages”), a nationwide network of neighborhoods and communities of older persons wanting to help each other to remain living in the community, has spread around the country and is seeing significant interest in the Capital District. The Albany Guardian Society, a charitable organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for older adults, has been hosting regular meetings with representatives of local communities interested in how to form and operate Villages.  In this region, these villages have been established-or are in development-in Glens Falls, Clifton Park, Albany, and Bethlehem.

Last spring, about 40 people attended a community informational meeting that the Albany Guardian Society held at the Bethlehem Public Library.  This fall, the Board of Directors of Community Caregivers agreed in September to partner with Villages in its service territory to help provide services which Village members might want. Community Caregivers, which was founded in 1994 as a community service organization of “neighbors helping neighbors,” actually provides many of the types of services that Villages is formed to undertake. So, a partnership with some of the interested neighborhoods will strengthen them and the presence of Community Caregivers.  Community Caregivers has also become a member of the national Village to Village Network.

Bethlehem Neighbors has been formed in the Colonial Acres neighborhood in Glenmont; other individuals in Bethlehem also have expressed interest in the Villages concept. Community Caregivers will be meeting with Bethlehem Neighbors as well as persons who are interested in considering the development of a “village” in Guilderland. The Albany Guardian Society will continue to serve as a catalyst providing assistance to local villages on operational issues including dues and membership.

The national organization, the Village to Village Network (www.vtvnetwork.org) has an extensive website and provides online technical assistance discussions. It is also holding its annual conference in Columbus, Ohio in October and representatives from the Albany Guardian Society will be attending.  Persons interested in exploring the Villages concept in their town, neighborhood or community can contact the Guardian Society at 434-2140 or Community Caregivers at 456-2898.

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 U.S. Administration on Aging.

To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit www.communitycaregivers.org or call us at 456-2898.