One of the greatest risks to rural communities is that their senior citizens move away. Seniors are significant consumers of local goods and services. If they leave a community, they not only take with them their lifelong accumulation of assets, they take their banking, shopping and charitable contributions, as well as their purchasing power for healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
One of the greatest risks to senior citizens in rural areas is that they will lose access to basic goods and services in the communities in which they live. Usually living on fixed incomes, they look for affordable choices for all their consumer purchases, from health care to housing. Those who are mobile may be able to drive to neighboring communities or urban areas to make their purchases or to get health care services; those who still have family or networks of friends in the area also may have good access to more options; but as family members move away and age or failing health make travel more difficult, many senior citizens become more and more dependent on the products and services that are available and affordable closest to where they live. Co-ops can help to make that happen.
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the cooperative tradition, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. These values are at the core of the cooperative’s business operations and they are reflected in the quality of services they provide.