The History of Wider Horizons and Villages
The Life of Wider Horizons
When we launched Wider Horizons in June 2015, we knew immediately that Central Seattle would embrace this innovation in aging services.
This village was the product of four years of research, planning, workshops, conferences, strategy sessions and site visits. Initiated and supported by Horizon House, a Seattle continuing care retirement community, the nascent village grew into being through the wisdom and skills of some of the region's top experts in aging. Sixty-five residents had joined the village before it even launched, and dozens more showed interest.
Two other villages were thriving, but neither served Central Seattle. The time was right. It still is.
Our 80+ members are already making the most of the Village, forging connections, engaging in activities, using services, and volunteering in our community. We are building a strong network of mutual support that includes volunteers, providers, interest groups, parties and camaraderie galore.
The History of Villages
The idea of building a member-driven community dedicated to aging at home began in Boston, MA, in 2002, and has spread to hundreds of communities throughout the US. These villages range in size from 25 to 900 people. Most are incorporated as non-profit organizations. Most have some staff; some are operated entirely by volunteers. Virtually all emphasize offering “Volunteers First” over supplying paid providers.
Many people have family members willing to help, but the reality is that families cannot be there for everything or all the time. One prevalent attitude among village members is that they would like to enjoy their children and grandchildren rather than relying on them for everything.
The creation of a village allows members to build community, support each other, and develop necessary connections to resources, often at reduced costs. Each member contributes to the vitality of Wider Horizons through annual dues; most volunteer in meaningful ways.
Wider Horizons is a proud member of the Village to Village Network, which helps communities establish and manage their own aging in place initiatives called Villages.