The Aging-in Place Village Movement and the Origins of Mill Creek Village
Older adults love their communities—they have spent decades building their current home and social life. Although some aging adults choose to move to a retirement community or an assisted living facility, the majority of older Americans would like to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible.
These older adults do not want to disrupt their lives; they do not want to lose contact with friends, give up pets, or sacrifice their independence. Grassroots organizations called “Villages” can make “aging-in-place” a viable option. Villages are created by residents devoted to fostering this very aspect of life in their communities.
They are volunteers engaged in a community effort in which neighbors help their neighbors. Aging can limit physical and mental capacity, produce mobility challenges and create social isolation and loneliness. As a result, Villages help to make many needed services (e.g., transportation assistance, friendly visits/calls, social activities and grocery shopping) more accessible to aging individuals. Villages also foster greater social connections in their communities by coordinating community activities and events.
The first Village, Beacon Hill Village in Boston, founded in 2001 has served as a model for community organizers across the nation. There are now hundreds of Villages nationwide, with more than 80 in the Washington DC region and 30 in Montgomery County MD alone. One of them is Mill Creek Village, which serves the residents of the neighborhood known as Mill Creek Towne in Derwood MD.
Mill Creek Village was organized by the late Betty Rossi with a group of committed neighbors of Mill Creek Towne in 2011. In 2013, it was incorporated as an all volunteer-led, nonprofit charitable community service organization and was dedicated to “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”