A German Village group will spend the remainder of the year laying the foundation of an aging-in-place program.

A German Village group will spend the remainder of the year laying the foundation of an aging-in-place program.

The long-range planning committee agreed Feb. 17 to forge ahead with the effort, which will provide services to aging residents who want to stay independent longer.

The committee, which is part of the German Village Society, will take the next 10 months to write a mission statement and form a leadership group for the program, tentatively called Village Connections.

In the meantime, the committee is developing a questionnaire that will be sent to 1,200 households around June. The survey will seek to answer who would join the program, what kinds of services they want and how much they'd be willing to pay.

Previously, the committee had discussed creating a concierge service to serve all ages but felt it muddled the mission of the program, said committee chair Carolyn McCall.

"After some exploration and discussion, the committee has really settled on trying to serve this segment of the population instead of trying to be all things to all people, because we think there is a need to help people stay in their homes," she said.

Funding remains a big issue, as the committee tries to identify revenue streams and determine how much Village Connections would cost.

There also was discussion of achieving nonprofit status and whether the program could be part of the German Village Society and be based out of the Meeting Haus. Committee members said they anticipate having at least one paid staff member to run the program and a bevy of volunteers to help provide services

Committee members said they would seek the approval of the German Village Society's board of trustees before launching Village Connections.

Much work still needs to be done, said Eleanor Alvarez, a senior-care professional and member of the long-range planning committee.

"In two years we should start to see something," she said.

Consideration of Village Connections began about a year ago with the idea of providing aging empty-nesters help with a variety of services, from transportation to housework. The long-range planning committee has been researching successful models across the country, such as Beacon Hill Village in the Boston area. The founders of Capitol Hill Village in Washington, D.C., also attended a long-range planning committee meeting in November to discuss their process of beginning an aging-in-place program.

Alvarez said she is pleased with the committee's progress.

"I think we have some momentum. It's pretty exciting," she said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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