I was recently asked by someone who attended a Village 101 presentation, “I understand why people would join a Village if they wanted an affordable way to age in place. But why would someone who is affluent and can afford to pay for anything he/she might need do it?”
Even though I thought I knew the answer, I decided to post the question on the national Village-to-Village network forum and see what some of the Villages with very affluent members had to say. Here’s one of my favorite answers:
“Financial resources do not protect against universal life changes and challenges. Our members are joining to make new friends and feel useful after leaving the workplace; make new connections upon the loss of a spouse/ partner; have moved to a new area or are a long time resident whose friends have moved on; are faced with health issues that increase isolation or diminish financial resources; or simply have a desire to support the community.
Having “connections” is also good for your health and well-being as shown in lots of research studies. We also appreciate that, as we age, it’s harder to initiate things and make decisions. Villages offer convenience with just one phone call to access programs and services already in place. Makes life simpler.
There are also benefits in having an economically-diverse Village where people can share both their unique and common experiences — whether it’s a special recipe, fun places to take a walk and explore the neighborhood, ways to save money (which even folks with a lot of money may wish to do), doctor recommendations, travel tips, where to give things away (even ball gowns!)
The collective of skills found in a village volunteer corps is also quite valuable. For example, computer tech help is a popular request from all members, even members who may otherwise be well-connected or with means. Also, sometimes you do not want to burden friends. Through the Village, members know the volunteer responding to the request for help has the time and wants to help for the specific need of the member.
For those who like to travel or are away in the summer/ winter months, Village members enjoy reciprocity with other Villages around the US through the National Village Exchange — a great way to learn about a new place, get restaurant/hotel recommendations, make new friends.
Lastly, If someone with resources is reluctant to join as a member, offer them opportunities to volunteer. They will soon see the many, many ways a Village adds to quality of life.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.