By Jim Tortolano//Garden Grove Journal
Garden Grove once was a village; a cozy place where everyone knew and took care of each other. It may yet be a village, but this time one aimed to serving the needs of the community’s growing population of senior citizens.
A group tentatively called “The Garden Grove Village” has come together to create a support network which will allow seniors to stay in their homes, according to Barbara Barker, volunteer director.
“We will offer services and volunteers to help them with things as they age,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest in this now, as baby boomers will soon be there, too. It’s a great program because now with cuts in services, this is a way to avoid going to nursing homes.”
The “Village,” which is not a housing development or a “place,” will be a membership-based organization designed to provide access to affordable services for older Americans.
The movement started in Beacon Hill, in Boston, according to Barker, and has spread nationwide, with about 250 “villages” across the country. The Garden Grove group will be under the umbrella of Orange County’s SeniorServe program.
The way it works is that seniors will pay an annual fee – amounting to about a dollar a day – to be part of the network. The senior will have access to transportation, grocery shopping, social activities and referral services.
Referrals to reliable providers for home repairs, cleaning and gardening will be available. Also planned are partnerships with hospitals, medical providers and others who can serve seniors with house calls, in-home health care, medical advocacy, support groups and more.
“But there’s more than that,” said Barker. “We are going to be lively. We are going to have fun.”
An early activity will be a free showing of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Psycho” on Wednesday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the council chambers in the Community Meeting Center, 11300 Stanford Ave., Garden Grove. Costumes are optional but encouraged.
On Nov. 2 the group is planning an organizational retreat; a fund-raiser is contemplated for December. “We don’t have any money yet,” said Barker. The group plans on soliciting funds from a variety of potential donors.
If successful, the second “Garden Grove Village” could be up and running by the end of 2013, she said. Anyone interesting in volunteering or donating can call her at (714) 539-9402.