Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Senior Village in Silver Spring? Yes indeed!



Downtown Silver Spring Senior Village makes progress to meet local needs

Downtown Silver Spring Senior Village (DSSSV) is a new nonprofit organization devoted to helping people remain confidently in their own homes as they age. The primary service area is zip code 20910.

DSSSV will organize volunteers, public and commercial resources, and professionals to provide a variety of services to "villagers" who need them. Villagers will pay an annual fee to help cover the costs of operation and programs. We plan to start enrolling members and volunteers in mid-2013.

DSSSV is part of a national trend
Currently, 89 villages are operating across the country, in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, with another 123 villages in development.

DSSSV is actively involved with the Washington Area Village Exchange and the Village- to-Village Network, a national peer-to-peer network to help establish and continuously improve management of villages. A couple of DSSSV representatives will be attending the 4th Annual National Village Gathering this fall to learn how other villages are achieving success.

DSSSV accomplishes steps toward becoming official
DSSSV has developed bylaws and been incorporated as a nonprofit in Maryland. We are working on our 501(c)(3) application for tax-exempt status.

Villages are prominent in the news
A recent article in The Washington Post was titled "'Village' groups, home alterations help more elderly people keep the homes they love" featured the accomplishments of villages in helping older adults live independently in their own homes.

A new book by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, "Independent for Life: Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America," discusses aging in place. There are references to the role of villages. A review of the book appeared in The Washington Post.

What are the needs of seniors in Silver Spring?
DSSSV is conducting a survey to identify the services most needed by older adults in Silver Spring. Please complete the survey and we'll publish the results.

Research supports importance of villages
A research study, "The 'Village' Model: A Consumer-Driven Approach for Aging in Place," was published in a recent issue of The Gerontologist. The study, based on surveys of villages, noted, "the Village model represents an innovative and potentially promising approach for supporting aging in place among older adults, especially for middle-income seniors who often fall outside the purview of shrinking public programs." The study pointed out that villages are focusing on membership recruitment and financial growth.

DSSSV is a "player" in our community
  • DSSSV has held outreach events for six local civic associations and several other information sessions. More events are planned.
  • DSSSV is collaborating with Seabury Care Management on an event titled The Ethics of Aging in Place, to be offered on Friday, September 21. Social workers may obtain continuing education credit.
  • We're collaborating with Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. on a six-part series on Health and Wellness, Work and Finance, and Technology for seniors to start in October.
  • DSSSV will have a booth at the Fenton Street Market on Saturday, October 27.

The DSSSV website keeps the community informed about our progress in helping older adults remain independent.  If you have not already done so, please take a minute to complete our interest form.

YOU can help "grow" our Village
A robust Planning Group and other volunteers are actively working to establish DSSSV and begin providing services in 2013. You can help, too, even if you are only available for several hours per month.
  • We have identified some potential funding sources. We are now in need of experienced fundraisers and grant writers.
  • We need help in organizing, promoting and staffing events and workshops.
  • We are seeking people to hold events in their homes to introduce their friends and neighbors to DSSSV.
  • Someone with bookkeeping and accounting skills is needed to help with setting up systems for planning and managing finances.
Please contact us by phone (301) 503-7401 or e-mail

Martine Brizius and Roberta Gosier
Co-Chairs, DSSSV Planning Group

(301) 503-7401

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