Report from the The Building Blocks Conference – Beacon Hill Project
The following is a brief report from CHARLES KAUFFMAN a ProAging subscriber who recently attended a conference regarding the innovative Beacon Hill project in Boston, MA . . . lets hope to see something like this in the mid-atlantic soon!
“Remaining the same as we age, in our own homes, in the neighborhood we love and having a ‘seamless’ progression to aging” concerned a group of semi-retired friends who founded Beacon Hill Village” in Boston in 2000, said Susan MacWhinney-Morse, at “The Building Blocks: How to make your neighborhood into a village.,” a two day conference offered by Beacon Hill Village Inc. (“BHV”) in Boston April 30th -May 1, 2007.
“Beacon Hill Village is a revolutionary, all-encompassing concierge service dealing with almost any contingency, large and small, without relying on relatives and friends, “ wrote Barbara Basler, in “Declaration of Independents,” the Dec.2005 AARP Bulletin article, which launched BHV on a national trajectory .
BHV does much more than vet and deliver services. “We know through gerontology research that people do better when meaningfully connected to their community. …Older people become increasingly less likely to initiate the very activities that would keep them happier and healthier. There is an association between happiness and wellness. The goal of Beacon Hill Village is to address these emotional as well as the physical needs” said Nancy Myers Coolidge, program director of BHV. Dr. Joseph Coughlin of the MIT Aging Lab characterized this social aspect, as the “Secret Sauce” of BHV.
BHV President Steve Roop and the effervescent Executive Director, Judy Willett, presided and shared their acquired expertise, sometimes painfully acquired, with a packed audience of 200 representing local and national non-profits, government organizations, private caregivers and enterprises, and many individuals, interested in launching a BHV and covering financing, services, marketing, organizing, grants, strategic partnerships — and lots more.
The District of Columbia, Maryland and VA attendees included “village” organizers from The Watergate, Capitol Hill Village, Glover Park, Palisades and Fairfax County (there are about 7 budding villages in the DC metro area) with AARP-DC, Montgomery County MD. Commission on Aging, National Aging In Place Council and NORC aging in place initiatives organization represented. The post conference communication buzz began at once and attendees have formed internet links to share information and support their efforts.
BHV directors are generous, accessible and responsive. BHV shares its knowledge through its workbook and this very successful first annual conference. Visit www.beaconhillvillage.org for information.
National Aging in Place Council — NAIPC- sponsors National Aging In Place Week taking place October 1 – 7 2007 with many events held throughout the US by its local NAIPC chapters. Visit www.naipc.org or email [email protected] for more information.
PO BOX 71035
CHEVY CHASE MD 20813
301 467 9336 Fax: 301 986 9734