Vignette > Staying Home

Member and Volunteer – courtesy of Ginna Fleming – click to enlarge

The challenge: how to provide older residents with the practical means and the confidence to live their lives to the fullest in their own home as they grow older.  A group of friends in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston came up with an answer. Beacon Hill Village enrolled its first members in February 2002 and was soon deluged with requests for help, information, and specific how-to answers. In 2010, Marin County began to establish Villages. Today there are nine: Sausalito, Homestead, Mill Valley, Novato, Rainbow, Ross Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon Peninsula, and Twin Cities. The parent organization, Marin Villages, administers all member services and vets volunteers. (Sausalito Village works independently). Membership costs $365/year, $1/day.  Volunteers pay nothing. Here is how it works.  Member requests are posted on the Marin Villages web site, volunteers respond and Marin Villages dispatches. Most calls are for transportation, e.g., for medical appointments, shopping, meetings, exercise centers, etc.  Volunteers take members on walks and provide such services as changing light bulbs, temporarily replacing a caregiver on an errand, and diagnosing problems requiring professional help.  Marin Villages has a list of vetted plumbers, electricians, contactors, etc. Volunteers accept about 375 requests per month.