Suppose you could call on friendly neighbors for both social activities and help without having to move to a small town where everyone knows each other? Virtual villages, unlike small towns everywhere, have no prejudice about how long you’ve been a resident or your origins. Wider Horizons is a Virtual Village.
In 2001 a group of Boston seniors developed the concept of Virtual Villages: A network of seniors seeking to remain in their own homes but sharing resources to prolong members’ ability to age in place. Virtual Villages reduce social isolation and also help with physical limitations of some members through chiefly volunteer efforts. Depending on the Village, there may be paid staff and/or helpers. A brief description of how to create a Village is found at Capitol Hill Village in D.C. – A Village Model to Emulate.
Today there are over 400 Villages in the United States. While they have similar goals, they adapt the concept to their own physical and geographical needs. Wider Horizons is part of a national organization, Village-to-Village Network. Created in 2010, it supports existing Villages and provides resources for communities wanting to create new ones.