Aging In Community
Because many of today’s older adults want to remain in their homes and neighborhoods as they age, Archstone Foundation has made aging in community a funding priority.
The United States is experiencing a rapid demographic shift. By 2050, more than one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 and older, and most of this increase will take place by 2030. Not surprisingly, studies show that more than eight out of 10 older adults prefer to age at home, and in their communities. The confluence of these trends calls for innovative long-term services, support systems, housing models, and healthcare systems to better serve older adults in their community.
While Archstone Foundation has funded grants related to Aging in Community since 1997, it has more recently focused its investment on innovative support models designed to enable older adults to age independently in their community. In 2010, the Foundation launched the “Supportive Communities for Aging Initiative” with the goal of integrating aging services in ways that can increase the quality of life for older adults living independently. Of the 10 projects awarded under this initiative, four were Villages that provide a range of services for older adult members (see sidebar for details).
Villages are self-governing, grassroots, membership-based organizations that consolidate and coordinate a range of affordable services for older adult members. Built on cooperative principles, Villages create innovative strategic partnerships that leverage existing resources and services. They are holistic, person-centered, and consumer-driven, and seek to promote volunteerism, civic engagement, and intergenerational connections.
Archstone Foundation has supported multiple types of Village models including:
Grassroots: arising from members’ need within the community;
Hub and Spoke: a centralized coordinating organization and local community chapters;
Timebank: a reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time in lieu of currency; and
Hybrid Model: combines multiple elements.
In 2011, the Foundation expanded its funding to support a total of nine Villages throughout California. In addition to providing direct funding, the Foundation supported complementary activities such as biannual meetings, monthly calls, and technical assistance in business plan development, marketing, sustainability, and viability. The Foundation also funded a cross-site evaluation to document the key elements a Village needs to be sustainable and meet the needs of its members. The evaluation seeks to capture project successes and challenges, membership satisfaction, as well as to document the most appropriate Village model for a given community.
While funding for the nine Villages concluded in October 2014, the Foundation is exploring how best to continue to support these valuable community resources, working with partners in the California aging network such as Capital Impact Partners, University of California-Berkeley, and others.
In addition to Villages, Archstone Foundation has also funded other efforts that enable older adults to remain in their homes and communities, such as Program for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE), shared housing, and low income housing and services.
These are exciting times for shaping the future of America’s aging population. Together with its grantees, the Foundation hopes to create a community in which to test new ideas, share successes, and build upon the experience of others to ensure that older adults can successfully age at home and in their communities. Looking ahead, the Foundation will continue to fund innovative models, programs, and services through its Responsive Grantmaking, while exploring how to further its Aging in Community work.
Learn more about Archstone-supported projects enabling older adults to remain in their homes and communities in our Grants Database.