What if older Charleston area residents created a virtual community where coordinated services were available allowing residents to age in place and potentially forego the need to leave their home? It’s not such a far-fetched idea and, in fact, it’s gaining some traction locally.
The South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition (SCAIPC), in partnership with the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office on Aging, is hosting a program on the “villages” concept. Presenters are Jan Wells and Bruce Wells who have experience in the development of villages in North Carolina. Jan Wells is a consultant assisting neighborhoods in developing aging in place initiatives.
The program – titled “The Village: A Growing Option for Aging in Place” – is 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 at the Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St. in Charleston. The event is free and open to the public.
Neighborhood residents create villages to help coordinate and deliver services and supports within their communities. This consumer-driven and person-centered approach can help delay or even prevent the need for institutional care. The idea emerged in 2001 when a group of seniors living in the Beacon Hill area of Boston formed Beacon Hill Village as a way to help each other live in the neighborhood as long as possible.
“With an aging population and the influx of retirees to our area, it is important for us to look at creative ways to support aging in place in Charleston,” said Janet Schumacher from the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office on Aging.
According to a 2012 report from Rutgers, more than 85 villages had opened in the country. Today there are more than 250 villages in operation or under development. Currently, South Carolina has one village in Hilton Head.
About the South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition
Founded in 2003, the South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition is a nonprofit agency comprised of businesses and organizations that support people as they prepare to remain in their chosen residence – independently, comfortably and safely. The coalition’s key initiatives are education, transportation and outreach. For more information, visit www.scaipc.org.