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Is an independent living facility right for you?

Once again, we welcome Andrea Needham of Elders Day with a guest post. We know that aging in place isn’t for everyone. Yet our experience at Capital City Village in Austin, TX showed us that people in independent living facilities need Village help too!– Ed.

As you enter retirement, there are many options for where to live and how to spend your time. While many people choose to age in place at home, several attractive benefits can come with moving into a senior living facility. Determining whether to move into independent living is a significant life decision, so understanding your options is vital. 

You should take your current and future needs into consideration when making a choice. You may also need to determine whether to sell your home to pay for your new living arrangement.

Understanding your options

When it comes to senior living, there are several options to consider depending on the level of independence you want and the amount of care you might need.

  • Independent living: Provides recreational and social activities, property maintenance, and housekeeping services.
  • Assisted living: Offers assistance with daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and cleaning.
  • Nursing homes: Provide 24/7 access to skilled nursing care needed to manage medical conditions.

Whether you require added assistance or crave convenience, one of these living arrangements may meet your needs and help maintain your quality of life throughout your retirement.

Knowing when to move

Relocating is a big undertaking, often requiring time, effort, and money, and knowing when to move into independent living can be challenging. Like many people, you may struggle with the decision, but planning can result in a smooth transition and easy adjustment.

Maintaining a large home can become overwhelming as you age, and the added stress can impact your day-to-day life. You might also experience a shrinking social calendar and find it harder to stay connected, at a time when connection is more important than ever. Moving into an independent living facility can relieve the burden of household chores while offering plenty of opportunities to have fun and meet new people.

Finding the right place for you

There are many choices for independent living, and you might wonder how to narrow down your options. Consider significant factors, such as cost, location, and available services. Ask people in your networks for recommendations.

While these facilities all offer valuable amenities, they can vary from place to place and may include:

  • Activities calendar
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Dining options
  • Safety features
  • Fitness facilities
  • Recreation rooms
  • Libraries
  • Transportation
  • Security

To determine whether an independent living facility is a good fit, tour the property to see what they offer and ask any questions you might have. Bring a friend along to get an additional perspective. You can compare costs, payment options, and client reviews online to help with your decision.

Determining how to pay

Before deciding on a community, consider how you will pay the associated costs. These communities can be costly and your income may not be sufficient to cover the expenses. If you own your home, one option is to sell it. Make sure to do your research on your current housing market so you know what a fair price for your home should be. A trusted real estate agent can help. It can be hard to part with your home, but the cost of maintaining it might limit your living options and restrict your ability to spend on hobbies or other activities, even with a strict budget.

If you are looking for more convenience, independence, and opportunities for socialization as you plan for your future, an independent living facility could be the right choice for you. 

6 Unconventional Budgeting Tips for Seniors Living on Fixed Incomes Who Tend to Overspend

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes to us from Andrea Needham. Andrea is the creator and editor at Elders Day A lifelong writer, she created her website to share information and resources with other seniors who love living it up as they age. Andrea believes our golden years don’t have to be a time to slow down, and she looks forward to sharing the many health-boosting, fulfilling activities and experiences that are perfect for aging adults. Thank you, Andrea!

A budget is usually touted as the key to financial success. However, it isn’t an approach that works well for everyone, particularly those who tend to overspend. As a result, many fixed-income seniors still struggle financially, even if they try to make a reasonable plan.

Fortunately, there are ways to make progress. If overspending is your issue, here are some unconventional budgeting tips that could help you, courtesy of Cville Village.

1. Choose a New Name for Your Budget

In some cases, the word “budget” leaves people uninspired. CNBC notes that it may sometimes encourage a restrictive mindset, which isn’t ideal. If you feel too confined, regardless of whether that sensation is justified, it could make you more inclined to splurge.

However, you can combat this by calling your budget something different. Choose a fun or inspiring name, like “financial wellness plan” or “a roadmap for financial success.” While it’s a small change, it could alter your mindset, making it easier to stick to it long term.

2. Use a Rewards Checking Account or Debit Card for Household Expenses

Rewards checking accounts or debit cards give you a little something extra without the same debt risks that come with credit cards. By using one to cover household expenses, you may earn cash back or points along the way. That can give you extra money to save or could become a source of “fun money” or splurges, allowing you to indulge without breaking the bank.

Just make sure that you choose a rewards checking account or debit card that doesn’t come with any fees. Often, fees offset any rewards you might acquire, defeating the purpose. However, if you can find one where you can meet the requirements to make it free, it could be worth exploring.

3. Get a Money Buddy

Managing your money isn’t usually a ton of fun. However, if you find a money buddy, you can turn it into an enjoyable joint activity. You’ll have a reason to connect with a friend more often, as well as a built-in cheerleader.

There are plenty of money challenges that can serve as a starting point. If you’re feeling bold, Geico suggests trying a no-spend month, though even a no-spend week or weekend could work if you want to start slow. If you usually make purchases in cash, do a loose change challenge, putting all of your coins in a jar. You can save your change digitally, too, setting it into a savings account instead.

However, you can also keep it simple by discussing a financial goal with a friend and having them share one in return. Then, cheer each other on every time you make progress.

You can even use this approach to reduce your expenses. For instance, refinancing your mortgage could let you save on your monthly payments or pay off debt using equity, freeing up cash in your budget. If you could both benefit from making that move, consider doing it together, providing each other with support every step of the way.

4. Wait 72 Hours Before Buying Any Non-Essential

While the 72-hour rule doesn’t have to apply to necessities like groceries or prescriptions, waiting for at least 72 hours before you purchase an item can help you curb overspending. It prevents you from getting caught up in the moment. Plus, it gives you a chance to make sure it’s something you actually need or will use before you buy it.

Use this process for any item that isn’t genuinely needed to live, regardless of the price. That way, you create a habit of reconsidering your unnecessary purchases. Plus, in many cases, if the item didn’t actually matter to you, there’s a chance you’ll completely forget about it, which also works in your budget’s favor.

5. Change the Picture on Your Cards (or Add One to Your Wallet)

Overspending during the spur of the moment can derail any budget. If you’re prone to whipping out a debit or credit card to make a purchase on a whim, use pictures to give yourself pause.

Update your credit or debit card to feature a custom image that reflects your financial goals or priorities. That way, when you go to pay, you get a quick reminder of what’s important, increasing the odds that you’ll change your mind.

Wells Fargo lets customers choose an image for their cards, as well as a few other banks and credit unions. However, if you can’t customize your cards, simply place a small photo in front of where you keep them in your wallet or bag. It’ll work the same way, ensuring you can remind yourself about what matters before you spend.

6. Start a Business

You may scoff at the idea of starting your own business, thinking you’ll need money you don’t have to even get off the ground. But the truth is that starting a business doesn’t need to be an all-in affair. Remember, your goal is to tighten your purse strings, so think of how skills, proficiencies, or hobbies you already have can be turned into a part-time or full-time business. You can use this comprehensive guide on how to start a business with ZenBusiness to help you get a sense of what lies ahead. Then you can use your time more effectively to start bolstering your income.

Financial problems from overspending can be detrimental to your twilight years. With these tips, however, you can break bad habits and begin developing new ones to help curb problem spending!

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Ebenezer outreach

One area that has been very unsatisfying in working on this project is our abject failure to find any people of color interested in working with us. On one level it’s completely understandable. But we would like to be an inclusive Village open to everyone in town.

On Sunday 17 July, we visited Ebenezer Baptist Church to speak with the congregation there about our Village. We were kindly allocated 3 minutes at the end of the regular Sunday service by Pastor Lehman Bates. Having just 3 minutes to speak is an interesting challenge when there’s so much one COULD say about the Village idea and progress so far.

Anyway, we did our thing, and then briefly stood outside with our biggest smiles on as people were leaving to hand out brochures. About a half-dozen people took one and a few made positive comments about our presentation and thanked us.

Who knows if this effort will bear fruit? We shall follow up with Pastor B in a couple of weeks to see if he received any comments or questions. It’s a start.

We wish we’d written this

Perfectly expresses this editor’s beliefs about politics and what that means.

from 7/10/22 The Marginalian newsletter []

True politics are not ideologies to discuss, but an attitude to your relationship with the world which is enacted in your daily life. Your politics are not what you tell yourself you believe. They are not the set of ideas that you identify with, or look to for personal validation of your goodness as a human being. Your politics are expressed in the choices that you make, the way you treat other people, and the actions you perform. It is here that hypocrisy and vanity fall away, as the reality of your politics is revealed in the countless decisions that you make every day. Who you work for, whether you volunteer for charity work, if you become a landlord, whether you eat meat, the extent to which you pursue money and consumer goods — these are the types of decisions in which our true politics are expressed…

John Higgs, William Blake versus The World

July 2022 update

Well, folks, lots of changes lately.

We learned in May that both MK and Helen, stalwarts who had been on this project since earliest times AND board members, were leaving to pursue other avenues for community involvement. That gave me a sinking pit-of-stomach feeling and I was spurred to contemplate my own participation. I contacted the others who had been actively working on this project before covid hit and we are left with 2 people besides me plus one who can’t come to meetings but graciously agreed to manage the email list and put out emails.

So many times I’ve heard: this is such a good idea, Cville really needs this; call me when you get it going.

Not: how can I help you get it going?

Not: I can make a donation to help you get going!

If it’s such a good idea, why aren’t others stepping up to help? They’re busy? we’re ALL busy! They aren’t well? there are jobs that can be done from one’s recliner!

OK, enough feeling sorry. Let’s move on.

I called a meeting of the two available people, we had a couple others attend (but not stick), and the 3 of us are now the Board of Directors: me, Jodie Stevens, and Laura Wallace. (Bless you both.) We’ve officially transferred the archives, the bank account, and the 501c3 management to this new board.

We are attempting some outreach to Cville’s African American community and will be making a brief presentation about the Village idea to the congregants of the Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, July 17. Many thanks to Pastor Lehman Bates for facilitating this.

Based on the feedback from the church event, we then plan to choose a neighborhood for a pilot and see how that goes.

We’re also meeting with folks from the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and JABA next week to explore areas for cooperation.

Stay tuned.

January 2022 update

Here we are again.

Helen P and I had some hope last summer (2021) that by now we could be starting up a transportation service as a beginning step to a full-on, full service Village. Then came Delta, and we were barely through Delta when Omicron hit.

I guess I could say I’m regretfully coming around to the stance that covid is going to be with us forever and if we keep putting this Village off, it’ll never happen. So we will just have to set things up with covid in mind and go from there.

So stay tuned and look for some news after the weather warms up and the days get longer again! Stay safe and keep warm!

The New York Times writes about Villages

Friday November 28’s New York Times featured an article on Villages in their Money section. A youthful septuagenerian who was beginning to worry about the isolation he envisioned were he to stay in his home as he aged, and who didn’t want to have to rely on his daughters, presents a very realistic assessment of the value proposition a village can offer.  He viewed it as a kind of “life insurance”, where you purchase it before you need it, and where you can tap into it as you need it. He has found new friends, has access to volunteers to assist him when and as he needs it, and has new social outlets he’d not previously envisioned.

I am a youthful sextuagenerian. I still work full time, get at least thirty minutes of cardio exercise each day, and I still drive at night, but I am beginning to think about retirement. I’ve begun to see friends move away to live in closer proximity to their children, to scan the obituaries where I do find that some of my peers have passed away, to use the nieghborhood teenagers to complete some of the more physicaly taxing homeowner tasks like mowing the grass and raking the leaves. I want a Village in place when I reach retirement in a few years, so I can ease into this Brave New World with enthusiasm and reap joy. My gym membership costs me about eighty dollars a month, far less than the cost of physical therapy co-pays which I’d very likely have to pay otherwise. I’d be delighted to spend a similar amount to be assured of the support I’ll one day need to stay in my home when I can no longer drive at night, or climb stepladders in order to change light bulbs inside and out.

A long-time friend came over for brunch over the weekend (she no longer drives at night), and she invited herself to come along to our Christmas celebration planned for New York. I was delighted– another person to engage in Scrabble games, to make a fourth for bridge, perhaps. I want my Village to facilitate those activities and others in my home and in the homes of others. I want my Village to help a small group of friends go out for dinner, or to a football game, or to host a movie night.

Click HERE to go read the article. What’s a Village worth to you?

A Report from the 6th Annual National Village Gathering



The Village Movement made history with its successful 6 Annual National Village Gathering held on Sept 29-Oct 1, 2014.  We had record attendance of 280 people and held the  first Village Hill Day on Capitol Hill!  The positive energy was palpable for the whole Gathering, from the start with our keynote speaker, DC’s Mayor Vincent Gray, to the many invigorating meetings at both Senate and House offices on the Hill.

Throughout the whole Gathering we heard about the current plans for the reorganized Village to Village Network as well as the renewed interest for Village research and strategic long range planning. The Gathering had amazing sessions on building diversity, hub and spoke Village models, and research results from our partner the University of CA at Berkeley and the Archstone Foundation. Attendees came away with renewed energy and commitment to the work of the Village Movement. Let’s keep it going!

If you’re interested in viewing any of the NVG presentations, they can be accessed through this link –

We Met the Match!
This past summer VtVN received a multiple year challenge grant. The goal for this year’s match was to raise $40,000!  Thanks to many supporters, we topped the $40,000 mark in donations and pledges during the National Village Gathering.

Let’s keep the momentum going and finish 2014 strong!
If you haven’t already made a contribution, please consider joining the many villages and supporters who have already contributed so we can raise an additional $20,000 by year-end.
The Network provides a critical link to the movement of over 140 Villages nationwide and the 120 that are in development. Your financial contribution will help ensure that the work and growth of the movement remains strong.
To donate now —  Click the link below to donate online

Or send checks, with Donate VtVN2 in the memo, to our address below.Village to Village Network
2011 Crystal Drive Suite 750
​Arlington, VA 22202 


Connected Care: 3 Surprising Patient Safety Pluses

From November 10, 2014 This post is sponsored by Vree Health, LLC.

By Stephen M. Hoelper, MBA, M.S., CPHIMS, Founder, VP of Marketing & Strategy, Vree Health, LLC


When a patient is suddenly sick, the healthcare system needs to be at its best. But often, it’s at its worst – at least when it comes to sharing information.

Acute events are a struggle for providers. Too often, hospitals don’t know if a patient is getting the right follow-up care and the primary physician doesn’t know what medication the hospital prescribed. Home care organizations may not know which physician to contact for orders.

It’s not just about better communication. It comes down to safety.

Connected care is a better safety net. It’s about electronic sharing of necessary information, timely patient follow-up and allowing everyone involved in the patient’s care and whom the patient authorizes to share a single care plan.

There are, however, some additional patient safety pluses that you may not have considered:

  1. Medication transparency: Connected care allows all providers to see what medications the patient is taking and enables everyone involved in the patient’s care to proactively perform medication reconciliation during care transitions. This helps reduce the risk of duplication of medications or adverse drug interactions.
  2. Early detection of potential adverse events: If providers are able to look at a patient’s care plan and see information from the patient on how he or she is progressing over a certain period of time, they can quickly evaluate each case. They can see red flags or factors in the patient’s condition that fall outside of desired ranges.For example, if the patient is diabetic and consistently has a fasting blood sugar of more than 130, they can take steps to intervene. It may be that the patient needs additional education. Or it could be that he or she is just not following the diet plan. Or perhaps a medication adjustment is required. Connected care can help get at the root of the problem so providers will know how to help.
  3. Answering patient questions in real time: The ability to answer questions in real time gives providers a higher likelihood of offering help before something serious occurs.

For example, a patient with end-stage renal disease may have a slight fever or have questions about the care plan, but may not immediately seek follow-up care. In that case, one missed appointment can be life threatening. Connected care can help quickly get the person to the right medical professional who can answer questions or urge the patient to see his or her physician or go to the hospital.

Something that has worked well for us at Vree Health is assigning each patient a care liaison-a non-medical professional who specializes in helping patients set and meet goals. Care liaisons check in with patients regularly during the initial 30 days after discharge to conduct health checks. This allows the liaison to develop a relationship with the patient through whatever type of technology the patient prefers. In turn the patient is more likely to be open, honest and forthright because of that relationship. Through the established health checks, liaisons are able to identify red flags and escalate any potential concerns to medical professionals in real time.

Care liaisons also do a 30-day follow-up to see how the patient is doing with the care plan. The liaisons do a great job of getting at issues that might otherwise be overlooked.
Connected care isn’t just about connecting stakeholders to each other. It’s about delivering better –and safer – care by making those connections work.


From “Falling In Love” to falling…out of Life

The recent two-part series on falls as a heightened risk of active aging in the New York Times has some important information for us Seniors. And as Charlottesville takes on revisions to its 2020 plan, we might want to analyse these two articles for what we can learn to apply in that planning.

As I read the articles, I thought about  falls I’ve taken in my life. From falling off my bicycle as a 5-year old, to falling when skiing, I’ve always accepted falls as something that happen when you  don’t have a complete set of skills (as in learning to ride a bicycle), or when you take more risks than you should (as in skiing). But as we age, and our skill sets change, those are still the reasons we fall. And the consequences are far more severe than a skinned knee or a broken ski.

ACAC at Albemarle Square is prepared for me and others who want to remain active as we age. Every single time I head down the steps into the group training area (formerly half of the  the basketball court), my eyes catch the glaring white tape that marks the transition from a dark carpet to black stairs. I automatically stop and look again before I head down those stairs. Had tape, or some other form of contrast like that been in place in an office building, or even on the stairs of my front stoop, perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen and broken my foot, or fallen and broken two fingers, respectively. What a simple solution for those transitional areas where falls tend to occur!

What if the concrete bumpers in parking lots were painted a different color? If changes in pavement levels, where sidewalks have moved with the heat or the cold were marked with contrasting color paint prior to repair? What if public restroom toilets had seats in colors that contrasted with the rest of the toilet? What if stores added floor lighting?

We all want to live to the best of our ability. And as it was when we were young and reckless, so it is when we are older and more fearful: we must recognize that our skill sets diminish gradually, and that what we used to do without thinking now requires careful planning. It’s a small price to pay for making the most of our lives.