Pilot program aiming to keep seniors in their homes ‘successful’

Photo credit: www.ashbyvillage.org/

A yearlong pilot program in Richmond aiming to allow seniors to remain in their homes with help from community volunteers intends to continue and expand after its operators said it proved successful.

Ashby Village, a decade-old nonprofit organization that provides a network of trained volunteers who drive seniors to appointments, help them with chores and light repairs, and keep them from being isolated, is inviting Richmond seniors to join its network. Ashby Village currently has almost 400 members and 330 volunteers in areas that include Berkeley, Emeryville, El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany and parts of Oakland.

“During the past year, as a pilot effort in Richmond, we recruited both members and volunteers in Richmond and saw that there is interest in and enthusiastic support for our way of aging in community,” Andy Gaines, executive director for Ashby Village.

Gaines said he hopes more Richmond residents will learn about the village concept and sign up to become members or volunteers. Those interested should visit www.ashbyvillage.org or call 510-204-9200.

Julie Freestone, a Richmond resident who worked with a committee of neighbors to bring Ashby Village to Richmond, says people want to stay in their homes and age in their community, adding that research shows social integration and close relationships are the most critical factors to living longer.

“Besides getting practical help, the village provides incredible social opportunities and support for older adults,” Freestone said.