Last month’s column spoke of living in a community, being good neighbors, and of seniors aging in place and not feeling isolated, without social interaction, meaning and purpose. So instead of ‘Aging in Place’ this month, this column is about Aging in Community. Aging is a team sport – we are all doing it – so let’s do it together. How about “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Stay Neighbors.” It really does take a whole community to watch over each other and share with each other.
Of course, there are a variety of resources available to help and support seniors. Our Tualatin city government, Council and Staff, work diligently to improve our housing and transportation needs, keep our parks safe and accessible, our streets safe. We have the Juanita Pohl Senior Center, Ride Connection, a wonderful library, access to medical care, a variety of local businesses for shopping, entertainment opportunities. With all of that, it’s still the community that makes it work. That means all of us, being involved, engaged and helping each other.
There is a movement afoot called Villages NW, a non-profit run by and for people 60+. Its mission is to support people who choose to age in their own homes and communities and to promote better health, foster an active lifestyle and fight social isolation among the ever-growing 60+ demographic. The underlying concept is certainly not new – in some form, we have been taking care of each other forever, just not always in a larger, overarching group that offers support and helps create better ways to age in your community.
This movement could reduce medical costs, help seniors get the most out of life and offer concrete ways to stay in our homes and communities as we age. It’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Stay Neighbors.” It’s providing services and volunteer opportunities that help seniors stay in their homes as long as they want. Whether it’s changing a light bulb, unclogging the sink, a ride to the doctor or grocery store, volunteers give of their time and skill set to help out their neighbors. There are 11 villages in the metro area: 4 in Portland, and seven more in Oregon City, Milwaukie, Forest Grove, Vancouver, Beaverton, Lake Oswego/West Linn and Manzanita. Now there is one coming to the Tigard/King City/Tualatin area – TiKiTu.
Terry Hall, a gentleman from California, decided that Oregon was where he wanted to retire and the King City/Tigard area was where he wanted to live. Upon moving here, he saw a need and is now working to fulfill that need by starting a new chapter of Villages NW here. There will be an information meeting to learn more about TiKiTu on Monday, Nov. 18, 2:00 p.m., at the Juanita Pohl Center, 8513 SW Tualatin Road in Community Park. Everyone is invited to this meeting to learn about TiKiTu Village, how to become a member, volunteer or help the core committee build this program.
For more information on Villages NW, visit their website at www.villagesnw.org.