The Maryland Community of Practice for Leaders of Villages and Aging in Community – helping leaders and innovators in Maryland to support new community resources
Our Purpose: to provide support through a Community of Practice (CoP) for leaders and visionaries who are creating villages and similar aging in community programs that allow its members to live and age well in their communities with support and advocacy.
Background: Currently as adults begin to look at living and aging in their communities they are investigating new models that might fit their needs and interests better than the models that worked 10-20 years ago. Baby Boomers, used to being in charge, and often with more education and sometimes with more resources no longer resonate with retirement living choices selected by previous generations. They are accustomed to being expert consumers and often innovators.
Existing models for aging that focus on larger institutionalized settings and using traditional social services and long term care models are under scrutiny for their viability. Many of the new seekers are still looking for responsive community, for flexible supportive relationships.
Following the Community Based living initiatives of thirty years ago and the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), Aging in Place, and Age Friendly Community Movements, the Village to Village Network, was one such a model where the first stakeholders were determined to have aging services ”their way” so that they could continue to live in their neighborhood enjoying all it had to offer. The initial prototype known as Beacon Hill in Boston, MA has grown into a national network of various neighborhood, city, community and county Village programs.
Maryland has produced many “villages” and similar Aging in Community models representing the stakeholders, leaders, and members tailored to meet the needs of various sized communities. Some of these endorse the Village to Village approach and others are unique to their communities and are not part of this affiliation. The Maryland CoP offers the leaders of these organizations new opportunities to:
- Create a Community of Practice and social network for empowered, intergenerational leaders who share values and can support each other in living and aging in community.
- Support the exchange of educational information for the leadership on how to implement plans for lifelong aging in community, develop models that are intergenerational, diverse, and confront “ageism” in services in both public and private sectors.
- Define what leadership and vision looks like in the new models for living in community. Work with empowered and experienced leaders to define what “best practices” are for leaders in these types of programs and how these practices can be replicated and shared among practitioners.
- Share information for leaders who can advocate for changes that create successful living in community.