Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
Elderly Korean patrons buy a $1 coffee and visit with their friends for a few hours in McDonald’s. The police are called to evict them because they stayed longer than the 20-minute dining limit announced on a sign taped to the front door. Another problem for McDonald’s has become single seniors who buy a cup of coffee and sit to read a book for 2 hours every day. What a mess.
Why are the elderly hanging out at McDonald’s? They are lonely, want to get out of their empty home, be around people and have somewhere to go.
Social isolation is just one challenge facing seniors. As people age, their friends die, move away, or become unable to participate in fun activities. That leaves the more active senior high and dry. One solution spreading across the nation is the creation of a local “Village” to help seniors continue to live independently in their homes and community. The Village concept was started in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts about 10 years ago. It is a member-driven organization that provides social activities such as coffees, potlucks, birthday parties, and other events the members dream up. In addition, if a member needs help changing a ceiling light or a trip to the grocery store, a volunteer is available to help out.
There is good news for Boise. I have been working for more than a year with a team of great people to create a support system to help people age and live independently in their home and community by joining a “Village.” There is still more work to be done before these local services can be offered. When we are ready to launch and accept members and volunteers, you will hear about it. The name of the Boise Village is “Boise Neighbor-2-Neighbor Network, Inc.” If you want to be on our mailing list for updates, let me know and we will add you to our list.
Villages were featured on The NBC Nightly News with Brain Williams on Friday, January 24, 2014. Go tohttp://nbcnews.to/1lgVcmU to view the video.
 “The Urban Home Away from Home”, by Michael Kimmelman, the New York Times, page C1, January 29, 2014.