Program coming to Richmond aims to help seniors stay in their homes

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Pilot project coming to Richmond aims to help seniors stay in their homes

A pilot project that uses volunteers to help seniors remain in their own homes or apartments is coming to Richmond soon.

The program, called Ashby Village, will be explained at a meeting on March 9 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Richmond Library, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Madeline Whittlesey Community room. The event is free and open to all.

The program has volunteers drive seniors to appointments, help them with chores and light repairs, keep them from being isolated and build a sense of community, says Andy Gaines, executive director of Ashby Village, a Berkeley-based nonprofit.

“It’s a virtual village,”Gaines said. “Members remain in their homes and receive support and can get involved in a wide range of social activities.”

Ashby Village currently has 375 members and 325 volunteers, as well as a small professional staff.

At the March 9 meeting, Gaines will speak about the Village concept, recount its success in East Bay cities and reveal results of a survey conducted in Richmond to identify the needs and interests of older adults.

“Today, people are wanting to stay in their homes or apartments and age in their community,“ says Julie Freestone, a Richmond resident who is working on the pilot to bring the program to Richmond.  “We hope older adults in Richmond will come join us March 9 to learn more about this exciting Village concept and how they can become a part of it “

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