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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.


What do you know about Triad?

TRIAD began in 1988 when AARP, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association signed a cooperative agreement to work together to reduce both criminal victimization and unwarranted fear of crime affecting older persons. Today, TRIAD is active in 47 states, including Virginia, where 205 cities, counties, and towns have signed TRIAD agreements.

TRIAD is a partnership in the Charlottesville community involving the Sheriff’s Offices, Police Departments, local citizens, and service providers to senior citizens that work together to make the community safer for the elderly. The Charlottesville TRIAD Cooperative agreement was signed and the program formally began on April 19, 2004.

The Charlottesville/Albemarle TRIAD has presented various programs to local seniors regarding home safety, shopping safety, frauds and scams – including those related to Medicaid, and emergency preparedness. The community is invited to join this important effort and the Sheriff appreciates receiving comments from seniors about ideas for TRIAD. For more information please contact the Sheriff’s Office through the programs link on the bottom of the main Sheriff’s page.

The Attorney General’s Office for the Commonwealth of Virginia has more information concerning the TRIAD program on their website.


Consider Transportation

Below you will find a recent article from the New York Times on aging and transportation. Charlottesville is a far cry from San Diego, but transportation remains a huge issue for our seniors despite a respectable public transit system and a fairly compact area within which many desirable destinations can be found.

My parents struggled with transportation issues in their last years, 2000 through 2009. They lived in a suburb in the northeast that had no public transportation. The grocery store was a mile away as the crow flew, and twice that distance by car. The drug store was on the way to the grocery store, but required a left-hand turn across a busy street in order to get there, and there was no drive-through pharmacy window. Dad’s church was about four miles away. Their doctors were scattered all over the area, the nearest one probably six miles away. Mom drove right up until the day she had her massive stroke that killed her, but the car bore the evidence of her increasing difficulties judging where the car was compared to where the wall of the garage was, or where the next car was parked in the parking lot. That burgundy Subaru was renamed “The Raisin” by its next owner, in honor of the dents and creases creating car wrinkles.

My beloved auntie had lived in New York City for over fifty years when she decided that was too difficult. Never a car owner or a driver, she had to walk four blocks  and cross six lanes of traffic to get to the nearest grocery store, and walk  four blocks on either end of  a subway ride to get to the doctor. When she moved to a continuing care community here in Virginia, she was delighted to find that the CCC bus would take her to the grocery store twice a week, and that the doctor came into the residents’ clinic 2-3 times each week. Where she was stymied was in getting to the theater for plays and musicals, her passion. As her mobility deteriorated, she had to hire and bring along her own aide to assist her with her walker, and later with her travel wheelchair.

My mother-in-law lived with us until very recently. She used JAUNT to get to the grocery store, the hairdresser, the Senior Center,  out to lunch, and to doctor appointments. She learned to work with JAUNT’s scheduling system, but often, by the time her plan was reaching fruition, she lacked the energy to carry through with the reservation she’d made, and paid the $1.50 without having ever taken a ride. She had no problems with waiting for the return trip except for the one time that the return trip didn’t happen because the driver went to the wrong grocery store location  to pick her up.

My neighbor has begun to ask for help getting to local doctor appointments because he can no longer walk from the parking area to the nearest wheelchair. He could probably walk to the nearest bus stop, but would be so exhausted by the time he reached his destination that he would not be able to focus on his medical issues when he arrived.

Transportation challenges become the most daunting issues in aging. Transitioning from automobile-based transportation to public or quasi-public transportation means one has to build in walk and/or wait times at either end of a trip, wait times that far exceed the time you might otherwise spend parking and walking to and from your store. Public transportation in our area does not operate on a schedule that can incorporate an evening theater performance, or a dinner out with friends. There is no more quick run to the grocery store, or the pharmacy, or to the hardware or home improvement store when you’ve discovered you need a tool or hardware you don’t have for the project on which you are working.

Like the couple in the story below, one has to learn a whole new, planful approach to life that can become a real stressor in the years that you supposedly have earned, in which you should be able to relax and do what you most like to do. And when you get to your shopping destination, how will you reach, and carry the items you wish to purchase? How will you move from store to store in the shopping mall?  How will you get from your airline gate to the restroom when your travel attendant has parked you at the gate and there is a new, 2-hour delay to your flight?

I invite you to read this article and to comment on the gaps in transportation you’ve experienced, so that CvilleVillage can plan to meet your needs so that you can comfortably age in your home and in your community. — Helen

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