In Washington, senior citizens are organizing to prevent nursing home
"Make this give me"
The principle, which relies heavily on the dedication of volunteers, is to provide retirees with services such as transportation, shopping, small repairs, most free or at prices negotiated with professionals.
No question of retirement home for Mr. Gonzalez, a former translator of the Navy, handsome man with blue eyes and white hair, walking with difficulty "because of the knees." But there is no question for him to leave the house, full of art books and jazz records, he lived for 48 years in this charming neighborhood, with rows of Victorian houses. "I like my independence, having to be accountable to anyone," contains the statement of the AFP.
He is a member of Capitol Hill Village, a nonprofit association founded in 2007, one of 66 "villages" existing (120 are currently being established) in the United States, built on a model based in Boston in 2001. This is not to provide medical care but to help people stay in their homes, without the hassles made more complicated to resolve because of age, said Katie McDonough, director and one of only two employees full-time Association of Washington.
Registration costs $ 530 per year for one person, a home for 800, 100 or $ 200 for the lowest income. Subscriptions are roughly half the budget, supplemented by campaign donations.
The "village", as it is called its 360 members (260 households) of Capitol Hill, provides a hotline to which we can seek help from one of 215 volunteers to be taken to a physician, to mow his lawn or fill out paperwork.
The village also hosts conferences, theater outings, dinners, exercise classes, .. "I do not like group activities, but when you retire, you must meet other people. And I want to give me this," said a retired woman.
"In America today we can not count on any help in everything that is around the office," says another "it's very American to meet more and say, do we organize?" .
The U.S., like other countries, is faced with the arrival at the age of retirement of the first of the 78 million American "baby boomers" (born between 1946 and 1964). For Candace Baldwin, co-director of Village to Village Network, which coordinates the villages, the challenge is "huge".
According to the US Care, from 2011 and for 20 years, 10,000 people daily celebrate their 65 years. In 2030 one American in five will be over 65 years and over age 85 are four times more than today.
The movement of "villages" is "a logical step in this evolution," says Candace Baldwin, a way to "age in the neighborhood that interests more and more people."
FG with AFP
updated on 02/01/2012