Assessing the Village Model and the Village To Village Network in advocating aging in place for older Americans

Vasudha Gupta's (MCP '12) thesis explored aging in Place allows seniors to remain in their choice of residence for as long as possible, using local services and conveniences to live safely and independently. The Village Model is a component of this movement, recognized as a community-based and peer-support network, which allows older Americans to age in their homes and remain active in their community. While it is generally accepted that the first Village emerged in 2001, tens of new Villages have been established over the last few years (presently over 50 are operating and 120 are in planning). When the movement gained significant momentum, the Village to Village Network (VtVN) was established in 2009 as a response to national inquiries. VtVN, which is fundamentally an online tool, connects Villages across the country and provides technical support for developing and maintaining Villages. In this thesis, I present my research work on behalf of the ICA Group, a non-profit consultancy, as I evaluate how successfully VtVN has been able to meet the needs of its constituency (the Villages). I used three methods to make this assessment: 1. completing a literature review on policies related to older Americans and the Aging in Place movement; 2. conducting research on network structures, both through a literature review and case studies of other nationwide networks; and 3. employing a survey instrument to interview the leadership of existing Villages regarding their experience with their community and the Village to Village Network. Using these analyses, I provide recommendations to the Village to Village Network on how to improve the organization for its membership (the Villages) and for advocating the Aging in Place movement.