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Coffee party #1 – done!

Today we held our first neighborhood coffee party at Park St Christian Church. It was a great venue, the facilities were perfect for our needs. We are so grateful to the Pastor for permitting us to use their space.

We had 13 people in attendance in addition to several members of our organizing committee. A few had come in response to our email blast, but several saw the flyers we put up. So yay!

Vikki and I did a short presentation and then we took several very good and thought-provoking questions from the audience. There seemed to be quite a lot of excitement and support from them We also recruited a new member to the organizing committee! The only thing we forgot was to take some pictures. Oh well, there’s next time…

Next month we’ll do it again at Christ Community Church, 329 Riverside Dr in Woolen Mills. Come and tell your friends!

Why we need a Village: Example #1

contributed by Helen

My friend L moved here a few years ago to take care of her mom. At the time, her mom was fine but L knew that the family had had several members of her mom’s generation fall prey to dementia. L called me a  few months ago, and asked if we could have lunch and talk through some supports for both her and her mom, since one of L’s issues was that she was seeing behaviors that suggested some memory loss, and she wanted to know what resources this area had for her. She was fighting an uphill battle, since her siblings hadn’t noticed anything wrong and were skeptical of L’s reports. 

As we sat down to lunch L shared some information with me about her own health issues: she had some severe allergies, and some chronic conditions. We talked a little more about some of the symptoms her mom was having, like a recent inability to remember how to find her destination, a local drugs store only a few blocks away, or the way to her husband’s grave, which she typically visited weekly. As we talked about resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association and JABA’s adult day care programs, I asked L, “Does your mother have a  medic alert pendant? Do you? “

L just looked at me as I said, “Two things occur to me. First, your mom should certainly have a medic alert system in case you and she get separated anywhere, or she gets up at night and something happens. But you have some high-risk concerns for yourself, like allergies that require an epi-pen. If your mom is able to help you today, she won’t be able to help you in an emergency much longer. If you are the caretaker, we need to make sure you are well-positioned to be of help. 

“I never thought about that,” she said. Three weeks later, she had a medic-alert bracelet identifying her allergies, as well as medic-alert pendants for herself and her mom. They are practicing using them each month, and have educated their extended family, all of whom live at least 100 miles away, about them. And she is talking with her siblings regularly to help them understand the challenges she sees with their beloved mother. 

In fact, I tell all of my friends and neighbors who live alone that each  should have a personal emergency response strategy. Each one of them is one mis-step away from a devastating injury. Who will know if you have fallen and injured yourself if you fall in the bathroom, trip over a rug and hit your head on the floor, or any of multiple other opportunities you have at home and in your yard for a life-changing emergency? Being prepared is more than the Boy Scout motto!  

Got a chronic condition? Check out this workshop.

Martha Jefferson and JABA present a 6-week series on self-management of chronic disease. Details in the flyer here.


We’re starting out the year with a series of coffee parties in various neighborhoods around town. We want to talk with groups of seniors and/or those who love them about the Village concept and see what will work best for our Village.

We have two already scheduled, and 3 more planned. They are open to all interested. Here are the details:

Party #1 will be on Sunday, February 9 from 2-4 pm at Park St Christian Church, 1200 Park St. in North Downtown.

Party #2 will be on Sunday, March 15 from 2-4 pm at Christ Community Church, 329 Riverside Ave in Woolen Mills.

Parties #3, 4, and 5 are planned for Ridge St, Belmont-Carlton, and Meadowbrook-Rugby-Branchlands, in April, May, and June, respectively. We’ll announce the locations and dates when we have them.

Please come out and join us. No need to RSVP, just come and tell us what you think the Village ought to be! I hope to see you!

Oh, memory.

In yesterday’s New York Times, there was an op-ed that hit so very close to home.

Written by a neuroscientist, it confirms what I have suspected for some time now: Short-term memory is subject to fails at any age. And the reason it takes me longer to call up a recent fact or event is that my brain is overstuffed with some 60 years of memories and, let’s face it, trivia. Totally logically, it takes me longer to look through it all to find what I’m after.

Now if only someone would come up with a safe and effective brain housecleaning strategy so that I could get rid of, say, song lyrics from 1964, while retaining the location where I’ve tucked away my granddaughter’s birthday present, that would be a breakthrough.

Here’s the piece:

Tech for safety at home

I’ve just read about Linksys Wellness Pods. It seems that the days of the “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” style of home monitoring for seniors (or anyone) may be past. See

These pods (put aside your images of alien visitation B-movies) apparently are to be scattered around your house. They can detect motion, including falls, and also breathing and sleep patterns.

They haven’t come to market yet, but it probably won’t be long. What do you think of these new devices? Would you want this, or is it too much surveillance for your comfort?

The rebirth of Cville Village

Happy new year 2020!

We’re thrilled to announce that our website is now located at and has undergone a major redesign to accompany our reignited effort to organize and launch Cville Village!

Look for regular updates to our blog, enjoy reading, leave us comments! Send us a tale of your own or a family member/friend’s experience of ‘aging in place’, or post a link to something that we all might like to read.

You can also find us on Twitter: @cvillevillage

It takes a village to help keep seniors confidently independent

by Cathy Dyson The (Fredericksburg) Free Lance-Star       Jan 26, 2019 [as reprinted in the January 27, 2019 issue of The Daily Progress

LOCUST GROVE — Marguerite Badger faces a dilemma that many adults may experience as they get older.

She wants to stay as long as possible in her home, in the Lake of the Woods community of Orange County, but her grown children in Northern Virginia worry about her. They don’t want her climbing a ladder to pull leaves out of the gutter or to change light bulbs. Because she lives alone, Badger is nervous about hiring contractors she doesn’t know, so repairs of broken doorbells or leaky toilets often go undone.

A program called LOWLINC (Lake of the Woods — Living Independently in Our Community) seems to solve all the problems. Seniors like Badger, who’s 83 and doesn’t like the way people put so much emphasis on age, pay an annual membership. The fee of $500 per household or $400 per individual covers the program’s operational expenses and only paid employee, Stacey Madigan, who takes calls from members.

She schedules the group’s volunteers, who visit and perform a variety of services. As part of basic home maintenance, they change filters in furnaces and batteries in smoke detectors, clear snow from steps, move furniture, hang photos or do simple plumbing and electrical repairs.

Volunteers also drive members to local doctors’ appointments, pick up mail, medicine or groceries and pay “friendly visits” in which they spend an hour or two talking, playing cards or watching TV.

The more Badger finds out about the nonprofit program, the more she likes it.

It just makes you feel really secure,” she said, adding that she knows her children mean well, but she’s not ready to move. “I didn’t think it was fair of me to make them worry, either, but if I can do this, it makes all of us happy.”

That’s the purpose of the “village movement,” an effort that makes it possible for seniors to stay independent longer. The movement started in Boston more than 15 years ago and has developed into an organization called the Village to Village Network with more than 200 programs nationwide and another 150 in the works.

LOWLINC started offering services in 2016, two years after residents Mary-Jane Atwater, Jeff Flynn and Joe Sakole began talking about ways to bring such a program to their community. Atwater was involved with a similar program in Alexandria, and Flynn often heard from residents who simply couldn’t keep up with home maintenance as they got older.

I knew where they were coming from when they said they don’t want to move,” Flynn said. “I’ve lived here forever and I love it. I don’t want to move, either.”

About a third of LOW’s 8,000 residents are older than 65, so the trio sent out a survey to the community’s older population. It asked, among other things, what kind of services seniors could use and if they would be willing to pay for them.

The organizers knew that its cadre of retired workers could volunteer to do the legwork, but the program would need funding to cover insurance, a phone line, the salary of a part-time coordinator and background checks on all the volunteers who would be going into peoples’ homes.

LOWLINC also offers a list of about 60 local service providers who can do more complicated repairs. Volunteers have checked out their credentials.

The program has grown steadily as 90 older volunteers provide assistance to 71 older members. Most volunteers are in their 70s and are active older adults such as Rick Rappoport, who visited Badger’s home recently. He spent 40 years in law enforcement in Fairfax, working for both the county and city police departments.

When we go in and do things for people, they are so grateful for the little things” like changing light bulbs or replacing a toilet flapper valve, he said. “It’s like their life has changed.”

Eileen Appleyard gets the same reception from Lynn and Carol Hein, who both have health issues and use walkers. She brings their mail twice a week, takes Carol Hein grocery shopping and helps around the house, when the two aren’t chatting about people and places they know in the Midwest.

She thanks me profusely every time I come,” Appleyard said. “She says, ‘You don’t know how much I look forward to your coming, and thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

And I hug her, too,” Carol Hein added.

Alice Ann Halverson, 81, is both a member and a volunteer. She calls a neighbor every morning at 9 to make sure the woman is OK. Sometimes, the neighbor says she’s busy and hangs up; other times, the two talk for more than an hour.

I wish I could do more, but I kind of have my hands full,” she said.

Her husband, Randy, is 84 and has dementia. She gets some relief from round-the-clock care every Wednesday, when she goes out to play bridge while a volunteer comes to play cards with her husband.

I couldn’t live without it, and I know other people who say the same thing,” she said. “For one thing, I feel secure. I know if I call, somebody will come.”

In 2018, the 71 volunteers with LOWLINC performed 3,112 services, which accounted for 2,369 hours. They drove 19,307 miles, taking members to doctors’ appointments between Culpeper County and Fredericksburg, or driving older residents to the grocery store or hair salon.

Volunteers also did 829 phone checks, making sure older neighbors were doing OK, and picked up mail 319 times. They went on 409 social outings, paid 203 friendly visits and made 165 health and wellness visits.

LOWLINC has a seven-member board of directors and seven committees that oversee various offerings, from member outreach to social activities, one of the most popular.

More information is available by emailing, calling (855) 569-5462 or visiting the program’s website,

More information on the village model is available at the Village to Village Network website,

The Mary Washington Hospital Foundation gave LOWLINC $5,000 in December — and the Lawrence and Martha McMurtry Award for Excellence and Innovation in Community Health and Wellness.

LOWLINC’s board wants to use the money on health and wellness projects to benefit as many seniors as possible. Members are considering CPR and automated external defibrillator training; fitness equipment or classes for seniors; classes on improving balance; dementia training and support; or help with medical transports.

A committee is taking suggestions on how to use the funds. LOWLINC members and volunteers can email Emily Slunt at

Lake of the Woods Living Independently in our Community volunteer Margaret Driscoll compares hands with Lake of the Woods resident Randy Halverson after a game of gin rummy on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. LOWLINC was launched in 2016 and volunteers in the group make regular visits to “members” of LOWLINC and while there, they do maintenance checks on the house, visit and play games, or take the members shopping.



As the New Year 2016 begins, we want to give you an update on the status of CvilleVillage. We are moving forward, although not as rapidly as we had expected.


Carolyn Benjamin represented CvilleVillage. Nationwide, interest and enthusiasm for the village concept remains high, as evidenced by 350 people in attendance. Within the Village to Village Network ( there are now 190 fully operational villages with another 185 in development. The speed at which villages develop varies widely: 1) depending on an adequate number of committed people actively involved in building the village infrastructure and 2) determining how the village will complement/partner with other organizations serving seniors, which varies geographically.

SURVEY, June 2015.

Our thanks to all of you who responded to the survey sent to our email list to measure ongoing interest in creating a village in Charlottesville. The survey revealed that there is still strong interest in having a village here; however, there are not enough people with The time and/or commitment to assist in creating it. Many people expressed their desire to have a village in Charlottesville, and their willingness to support it once it opens, especially when assessing the financial reality of retirement homes and assisted living facilities.


 IMPACT (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together) has selected Elder Care as their focus for this year. They have asked for our input as part of their community-wide research on this issue, and we look forward to working with them to raise awareness of the state of Elder Care in Charlottesville. (


Carolyn Benjamin, M.K. Gleason, Helen Plaisance, and Judy Zeitler are continuing to reach out to individuals and groups to educate them about the village movement. We hope to attract more individuals with the skills necessary to support a thriving village. We would also appreciate your suggestions, questions and involvement as we make CvilleVillage a reality, providing another option for helping seniors “age in place”.


You can find out more about who we are by exploring the rest of ourwebsite or you can email us at