The term “aging in place” is used to describe adults who choose to remain in their homes beyond retirement. There are communities and neighborhoods throughout the country that have been designated as Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs). To be designated as a NORC the place has to have services and conveniences that enable the elderly to remain living safely in their homes.
Service Cooperative of and for Seniors: Aging in Place-Glens Falls“We are extremely grateful for the assistance of the Cooperative Development Foundation, whose grant made this year of development a success.” – Harvey Noordsy, President, Aging in Place-Glens Falls
In the summer of 2008 a group of seniors in Glens Falls, NY began exploring the needs of local seniors who had chosen to remain in their homes in their aging years. They formed a steering committee and examined the Beacon Hill model, which requires professional staffing, paid vendors for many services, and a rather high annual fee for members. However, by using the service co-op model and the Timebanks principle of giving and earning service, they could form a service cooperative that would provide many services for minimal cost. In 2009 CDF’s MSC Fund made a $4,000 grant to help the steering committee expand its efforts through informational publications, insurance for volunteers, a website, and Timebanks software.
Aging in Place-Glens Falls is now a cooperative service exchange that helps people age in their homes with dignity. It supports aging in place through an exchange of services (transportation, cooking, lawn mowing, minor home repairs, etc.) and the collection and sharing of information about community services beyond what the Co-op can provide and helps members maintain connections to each other and to the community. It also provides information about local events that may be of interest to seniors. It has over 35 members, is well known in the community and beyond, has developed relationships with area senior centers, has entered into partnership with Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (which provides member/owners with liability insurance as well as volunteer opportunities), and kept expenses to a minimum.
Lesson learned: People often find it difficult to ask for help.