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Lamorinda Village Celebrates First Anniversary

April 6 marks a special occasion for seniors in Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda – it’s the one-year anniversary of a membership organization dedicated to “Actively building a community that embraces connections, caring, and choices in how we live and thrive.”

What that means in real, everyday terms is that members of Lamorinda Village have a one-stop resource for access to social and educational activities, referrals to screened and evaluated professional services, and volunteers to carry out tasks such as transportation to medical appointments, changing those pesky batteries in smoke detectors, or simply checking in with the member by phone .

The Village is Lamorinda’s version of a community-based nonprofit model that has swept the country over the past decade.  More than 200 Villages are operating in cities and rural communities, including several in the Bay Area, with many more in development.  As numerous studies have shown, most people hope to remain in their homes as long as possible, but many need a little help with basic household tasks in order to achieve that goal.  Older people may also lose the ability to drive or get around town, leading to isolation, which is associated with poor health outcomes.

The Village provides practical support in addition to sponsoring events and activities such as tours of the Ruth Bancroft Gardens  and the art museum at St. Mary’s, monthly celebration of member birthdays, and workshops on topics as varied as decluttering the house, spotting scams, and planning for end-of-life discussions. It can be the bridge that postpones the need to leave that much-loved Lamorinda home.

Orinda resident Bea Heggie, an original Lamorinda Village member, feels the Village is living up to its promise. "I think the Village is doing a good job of screening the groups providing services,” she says.  “They are doing all the work for me. I also like the access to activities like the Saint Mary's docent tour last week. I'm looking forward to having access to art, music, opera and plays together with other Village members."

Lamorinda Village launched in April 2015, following almost three years of planning by a dedicated team of local residents, and has grown to more than 120 members in its first year.  With two levels of membership offered, the Village allows members to choose the one that meets their needs.  Some members don’t need volunteer help around the house, but want the professional referrals and enjoy the social connections.  Others choose the full membership that includes volunteer services. 

Ruth McCahan, Village founder and president, recently said "I am so pleased when I see our members making connections - and remaking connections - within the community. Often seniors, especially those who are single, need to reestablish their social circles as others leave the community for one reason or another. They love coming to our events and getting to know other members and volunteers."

Membership in Lamorinda Village is available to Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda residents over age 55 who meet some basic criteria such as the ability to live independently with help and support. For information and details on membership, volunteering, donating to the Village, or providing professional services, check the Lamorinda Village website at www.lamorindavillage.org, email the Village at info@lamorindavillage.org, or call 925-253-2300. You can also sign up on the website to receive the Village email newsletter, which is filled with practical advice for living, profiles of Village members and volunteers, links to community resources, and information about Village programs and services.

 

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