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'Villages' let elderly grow old at home

USA Today

Haya El Nasser - USA Today
07/27/2010

The explosive growth of the USA's older population is fueling a grass-roots "village" movement in neighborhoods across the country to help people age in their own homes.

More than 50 villages in a neighbor-helping-neighbor system have sprouted in the past decade from California and Colorado to Nebraska and Massachusetts. They are run largely by volunteers and funded by grants and membership fees to provide services from transportation and grocery delivery to home repairs and dog walking.

Most villages have opened in the past couple of years, an indication that the momentum is growing in the face of a demographic tsunami: The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to more than double to 89 million by 2050, according to the Census Bureau.

The oldest of 79 million Baby Boomers turn 65 next year, a turning point that will begin to put pressure on social services, retirement homes and assisted-living facilities.

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