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Group for elderly to launch

27 September 2010

“Traditionally, relatives took care of relatives,” said Sharon Lockwood, the primary organizer of Georgetown Village. “Our motto is ‘neighbors helping neighbors.’” Georgetown Village, an age-in-place cooperative, is slated to launch in 2011, and aims to ease the burden of costly professional assistance for elderly residents facing chronic health problems or mobility issues.

This plan is part of the recent nationwide growth in age-in-place cooperatives, which allow older residents to remain in their own houses instead of moving into retirement communities or nursing homes. Members pay a fee to have access to the range of services facilitated by their local organization, and the organizations’ cooperative nature helps neighborhoods foster a greater sense of community.

Georgetown Village plans to social activities for members and facilitate the provision of care for those who are physically impaired. Members would have access to a database of contractors, doctors, and other professionals. The Village will also negotiate discounts at local businesses on behalf of its members.

The Village is currently in a planning and fundraising stage. The planners, led by Lockwood, have been hosting a series of meetings with residents throughout the summer, and will continue to do so throughout the fall.
According to Hazel Denton, a Georgetown resident and a member of the Georgetown Village advisory board, the Georgetown Village idea has been well received among residents, even attracting a younger-than-expected clientele.

“Most people were over 60, but there were certainly some in their 40s and 50s,” Denton said of prospective members. Two weeks ago, Georgetown Village secured office space in St. John’s Episcopal Church, where they will be hosting a fundraising concert on Oct. 17.

The organization intends to begin service at some point in 2011, but Lockwood stressed that the schedule for opening is based on collecting enough money to cover operating expenses. Besides renting office space, Georgetown Village will also hire an executive director, who will be the organization’s only paid employee.

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