Opinion Your Views — 27 February 2012
Opinion: Volunteer villages help seniors age at home independently

To the editor:

With all the talk about the rapid growth of the aging population, here in Alexandria there is an answer that benefits our community by supporting seniors who want to stay in their homes.

Studies have shown the overwhelming majority of seniors want to remain, independently, in their homes as they age. The community groups called “villages” have the answer. These are organizations of volunteers devoted to performing a long list of services to help the elderly stave off the wrenching decision to leave home.

They will do fix-up chores, help with electronics, light yard work, transportation to medical appointments and a lively calendar of social events like museum visits, restaurant gatherings and daily “How are you?” phone calls.

I know what the villages can do because I am a member of At Home in Alexandria, the village that covers most of our city. AHA celebrates its one-year anniversary in mid-April. AHA volunteers have helped me with little home-maintenance chores and rides to various events. I am far from helpless, but after my husband died, I found there are some things that were easy to do around the house that are no longer easy.

AHA is one of more than 100 villages nationwide; more than a dozen are operating or in the planning stages in the area. I encourage Alexandrians to think of elderly relatives, neighbors or friends who may benefit from the things that AHA does.

You can contact AHA at 703-231-0824, aha@athomeinalexandria.org or visit the website, www.athomeinalexandria.org.

- Patsy Ticer
Former Alexandria mayor and state senator

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