More than 100 people came to the Silver Spring Civic Center Sunday to celebrate what one speaker called “a new entity with an age-old purpose.”
On a picture –perfect fall day, Silver Spring Village offered treats, speakers, and good advice to members and potential members of the neighbor-helping-neighbor membership organization. The Village is part of a growing family of villages nationwide, offering people help to age in place – or stay in their own homes and community as they get older.
“We are the new old – the healthy people,” said Peggy Simpson, founder and immediate past president of Dupont Circle Village. “[Our members] want to stay where they are in this intergenerational neighborhood and get help whenever they need it. Villagers also want more options than their parents had, including meeting new people and doing new things.”
Help includes things like transportation, minor home repairs, and grocery shopping plus a program of social and educational events. Silver Spring Village, now with 30 members, officially opened on Sept. 29. Silver Spring Village is one of approximately 36 villages either established or under development in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Membership and other information can be found at: www.silverspringvillage.org
Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Center and a card-carrying member of Silver Spring Village, thanked the crowd for coming out and “for affirming that there is the civic activism to make this work.”
“We can help ourselves, we can help others, and we can work collaboratively to enjoy everything that Silver Spring has to offer as we age in place,” he said.
Keynote speaker Stuart Rosenthal, publisher and editor of The Beacon and chair of the Maryland Commission on Aging lauded the effort.
“You are poised to do great things here in 20910 (the core service area ZIP code) to make people’s lives better,” he said. “Our population is rapidly aging and communities are waking up to the challenges.”
Rosenthal noted that about 85 percent of people want to stay in their own homes or a smaller one in the same community. Very few people want to move to a retirement home or a nursing home. He outlined plans on county, state, national, and even international levels to address the needs of aging populations and how they can live better lives.
While Silver Spring Village is a membership organization, volunteers are key.
Mae Novak, Silver Spring Village vice president and volunteer coordinator noted that “volunteers tell us what they want to do and members tell us what they need.”
Volunteers will drive members to appointments, help with minor home repairs, make friendly visits, help with pet care, water plants, and other tasks that don’t require a professional.
And while there are more than 200 Villages nationwide “If you’ve seen one village, you’ve seen one village,” Simpson reminded. “They are all different.”