SAIL Hosted a Special Webinar Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Birth of the Village to Village Movement.
SAIL on ‘Village to Village’ cutting edge
September 29, 2017
Vanessa McGuigan - Chronicle Staff , Shepherdstown Chronicle
Shepherdstown Area Independent Living (SAIL) hosted a gathering at Erma Ora Byrd Hall on Monday for a special webinar commemorating the 15th anniversary of the birth of the Village to Village movement.
This growing social movement of helping older citizens to "age in place" began in the Beacon Hill area of Boston where aging residents wanted to continue to live and stay engaged in their own homes and community, but recognized that they would need support as they aged. A proactive group of people 50 and older began to look at alternatives to conventional choices facing seniors. What began there as a grassroots movement of a "village" concept, quickly became a model for other forward thinking communities globally.
More than 7,000 people, representing 175 villages worldwide tuned in for the webinar which featured Robin Young from NPR interviewing nationally known surgeon, public health researcher and best-selling author of the book, "Being Mortal," by Dr. Atul Gawande.
Dr. Atul Gawande
Beacon Hill Village President, Harold Caroll made opening statements.
"There are 10,000 people per day who turn 65," Caroll said. "These people deserve the chance to make choices about where they live and how they live their lives."
Lack of access to services is one of the things can prevent seniors from remaining in their homes. Even seemingly small things like being unable to change a lightbulb and other minor household repairs can force aging people out of their homes. The villages have a positive impact on issues plaguing seniors and preventing them from aging gracefully and with dignity in their own homes.
"In healthcare, and in society in general, we assume that health and survival is the top priority," Gawande said. "The trouble is, we don't know what to do when health isn't possible. There are things bigger than health and survival. There is well-being."
Gawande referenced Bill Thomas, author, international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare, and self-proclaimed "nursing home abolitionist", who stated that the three plagues of old age are boredom, loneliness and helplessness. Thomas' conclusion that nursing homes exacerbate these conditions caused him to look for alternatives to traditional institutionalized nursing homes.