Photo caption: Dr. Atul Gawande

After several years of planning and nearly six months of pre-launch membership sales and fundraising, the Southwest Waterfront and Navy Yard communities are ready to welcome their first senior village. If the term is unfamiliar to you, a senior village is not a brick-and-mortar retirement community, but a neighborhood-based membership organization of staff, volunteers, and vendors supporting those who wish to age in their homes. Waterfront Village is the 12th senior village in DC, joining the nearby Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom/West End, and Georgetown villages.

The launch celebration will be Monday, Feb. 13 at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church (555 Water St. SW). The event will begin at 4 p.m. with an Aging-in-Place Expo featuring local vendors offering home health care, residential modification and maintenance services, medical services, and more. Refreshments at the expo will be provided by Galley Foods, and exhibitors expected to participate include Forest Hills DC/Forest Hills Memory Care, Georgetown Home Care, Goodwin House at Home, Home Care Assistance, Jewish Social Services Agency/Premier Home Care, Promenade Urgent Care, Residences at Thomas Circle, Sibley Senior Association, Smile Beautiful Dental, and Strategies for Independent Living.

To celebrate its 15th anniversary and the village movement it inspired, Beacon Hill Village in Boston has invited villages around the country to participate “virtually” in an event featuring Dr. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, author of the seminal book Being Mortal. The event will be live-streamed to villages across the United States and Waterfront Village will broadcast the live event as part of their launch celebration at 5 p.m.

Dr. Gawande is a renowned surgeon, public health researcher, and writer who will speak about the value of community and opportunities as we grow older. He will describe people’s efforts to maintain autonomy as they age in the face of ingrained habits, cultural expectations, and one-size-fits-all corporate offerings. Dr. Gawande includes the village model as an option for assisting older adults in their efforts, which has often meant providing services and extending community to people who want to remain in their own homes and enjoy the rich stew of activities, attributes, attitudes, and ages that engage the community’s older adult population.

Following the broadcast, the launch celebration will conclude with a champagne reception and light refreshments. Tickets for non-members are $45, which may be applied toward village membership, and the venue is ADA compliant. To RSVP, or to inquire about Waterfront Village membership or attending the event, please contact Executive Director Bob Craycraft at 202-656-1834 or info@dcwaterfrontvillage.org. You may learn more about Waterfront Village at www.dcwaterfrontvillage.org where launch celebration tickets are also available from the events calendar.

The History of the Village Movement:

In 1999, a group of friends gathered to talk about their future in central Boston. They wanted more freedom and control over their lives as they aged. They also wanted to be active, taking care of themselves and each other, rather than being taken care of.

The Village Movement was born by the formation of Beacon Hill Village, which enrolled its first members in Feb. 2002 and was soon deluged with requests for help from other groups wanting to form their own villages. Discussions for Waterfront Village started in mid-2013 with membership sales beginning in Sept. 2016. Today, the village has 46 member households.

Waterfront Village is one of more than 200 open villages, and more than 150 in development, in 45 states and DC that serve 40,000+ members. In 2010, the Village to Village Network was formed to ensure the success of individual villages and the Village Movement through expert guidance, resources, and support. www.vtvnetwork.org.

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