April 6 marks a special occasion for seniors in Lafayette,
Moraga, and Orinda – it’s the one-year anniversary of a membership organization
dedicated to “Actively building a
community that embraces connections, caring, and choices in how we live and
What that means in real, everyday terms is that members of Lamorinda
Village have a one-stop resource for access to social and educational
activities, referrals to screened and evaluated professional services, and
volunteers to carry out tasks such as transportation to medical appointments,
changing those pesky batteries in smoke detectors, or simply checking in with
the member by phone .
The Village is Lamorinda’s version of a community-based nonprofit model
that has swept the country over the past decade. More than 200 Villages are operating in
cities and rural communities, including several in the Bay Area, with many more
in development. As numerous studies have
shown, most people hope to remain in their homes as long as possible, but many
need a little help with basic household tasks in order to achieve that goal. Older people may also lose the ability to
drive or get around town, leading to isolation, which is associated with poor
The Village provides practical support in addition to sponsoring events
and activities such as tours of the Ruth Bancroft Gardens and the art museum at St. Mary’s, monthly
celebration of member birthdays, and workshops on topics as varied as decluttering
the house, spotting scams, and planning for end-of-life discussions. It can be
the bridge that postpones the need to leave that much-loved Lamorinda home.
Orinda resident Bea Heggie, an original Lamorinda Village member, feels the Village is living up to its
promise. "I think the Village is doing a good job of screening the groups
providing services,” she says. “They are
doing all the work for me. I also like the access to activities like the Saint
Mary's docent tour last week. I'm looking forward to having access to art,
music, opera and plays together with other Village members."
Lamorinda Village launched in April 2015, following almost three years
of planning by a dedicated team of local residents, and has grown to more than
120 members in its first year. With two
levels of membership offered, the Village allows members to choose the one that
meets their needs. Some members don’t
need volunteer help around the house, but want the professional referrals and
enjoy the social connections. Others
choose the full membership that includes volunteer services.
Ruth McCahan, Village founder and president, recently said "I am so pleased when I see our members
making connections - and remaking connections - within the community. Often
seniors, especially those who are single, need to reestablish their social
circles as others leave the community for one reason or another. They love
coming to our events and getting to know other members and volunteers."
Membership in Lamorinda Village is available to Lafayette, Moraga, and
Orinda residents over age 55 who meet some basic criteria such as the ability
to live independently with help and support. For information and details on
membership, volunteering, donating to the Village, or providing professional
services, check the Lamorinda Village website at www.lamorindavillage.org, email the
Village at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
925-253-2300. You can also sign up on the website to receive the Village email newsletter,
which is filled with practical advice for living, profiles of Village members
and volunteers, links to community resources, and information about Village
programs and services.
©2018 Lamorinda Presents.