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Villages as a New Approach to Aging

By Ed Mervine & Dick Myers
Posted: 02/27/2024
Tags: village movement, dick myers, retirement, ed mervine

We all found the Village in different ways. For some of us, retirement had become a Netflix experience, sitting alone in dim lighting, watching the lives of others flicker on a screen across the room. We had the sense that we were passively moving along a conveyor belt, from couch to cruise ship to assisted living and ultimately to the graveyard. Some of the stops along the way were entertaining but not very rewarding. Life on the belt seemed to have little to do with us or who we could be.

Getting off the belt required action and realizing, as did Mary Ann Evans, the Victorian author better known as George Eliot, who wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Taking responsibility for our lives and seeking out like-minded people ready to create more purposeful lives led each of us by various routes to Pasadena Village. Perhaps unknowingly, it also led us to a national movement committed to sustaining the health of American society by creating healthy communities for seniors.

The village movement started in Boston in 2002 and now includes 300 local villages nationwide, more than 40 of which are in California. Villages, including Pasadena Village, share similar goals and values but vary in size, membership profile, programs, services, organizational structure and history. That history is a record of members who take skills and knowledge they accumulated over decades of study, work and living and apply them to the task of formulating a new way to age in America.  

The same energy created state and national organizations to promote advocacy, mentoring, and sharing of best practices. In California, that agency is Village Movement California, of which Pasadena Village was a founding member. Nationally, it is Village to Village Network

Pasadena Village partners, supports and collaborates with both the national and state networks. These organizations are a resource for us but we also contribute to their success by sharing our experiences, skills, expertise and achievements. In our next article, we will discuss in more detail the various ways new and old members contribute to the village movement locally and on state and national levels. 

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