Party with the “Village People”

Thankfully, no one was doing the YMCA dance at this party!  The “village people” that I was with last month are the attendees of the first National Gathering of the Village to Village Network in Philadelphia.

In case you are not familiar, this is a grassroots movement of communities that are creating “villages” to enable residents to age in place/community better.  Beacon Hill Village in Boston is largely responsible for inspiring communities and neighborhoods across the country to work on innovative solutions.  While there are similarities, each of the 50 villages in operation and the hundreds in development are very unique to their community.

I was at this conference for a variety of reasons – as a journalist to help promote this way of thinking, and because I am deeply committed to making my own community a better place to live a lifetime with the Aging in Reston initiative.

Attending this conference really got my batteries recharged; because I was amongst true “pioneers” forging a new way of thinking that really makes sense.

As I reflect on the last several years, I have had the good fortune to attend several parties (conferences) that connected me with other pioneers behind other initiatives that have inspired me to focus on ways we can promote change in the way care and honor our elders.  These include the Timebanking Conference, the Cohousing Conference, and the Pioneer Network Conference.

It’s very difficult to make radical changes in any industry, but eldercare seems to be even more challenging.  At each of these conferences I was transported to a fantasy world where everyone was eager and open to change, and also provided critical thinking and challenges to new ideas.

A few weeks ago I was invited to an Eden Alternative training in my “backyard” of Northern Virginia.  I studied under the Eden founder, Dr. Bill Thomas when I was at UMBC, so I was pretty familiar with all the concepts and material.  However, I attended the training anyways, and I am glad that I did – for me it was a weekend of being with other like-minded individuals that want to change our system.  I was transported to that fantasy world for the weekend that made me feel confident that it will be much easier to make the world a better place.

So, get out there and party with the real”village people” and lets make this world a better place to have wrinkles and gray hair!

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