Long before the words “assisted living” enter your vocabulary, there’s a deep need for “thriving in motion” and aging better. There is a space of life where you’re satisfied and happy living on your own, yet might need help with the little things. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury, just can’t seem to move like you used to, or want to free up time to spend doing the things you love.
GoodLife focuses on connecting people and neighbors and created Vibrant Village, a volunteer-run program built from hyper-local communities and neighborhoods to sustain people in their homes longer. At Vibrant Village, neighbors help neighbors to provide extra support, friendship and independence.
The Vibrant Village program lays the groundwork for community living, making it easy to ask for and offer help. From any device, an Uber-like platform allows residents to choose the service they need from a menu, send a request, and have the service fulfilled by a neighbor. Volunteer residents get daily emails of what needs exist around them and can choose when and how they want to help.
Together we are creative and connective
We spent some time with Tori Marlo, GoodLife Volunteer Coordinator, to learn more about what life is like with Vibrant Village.
“Villages are intentional caring communities built on principles of reciprocity and core social values like empathy, respect, and optimism. Together we are creative and connective,” Tori says.
“The program helps fill the gap between what older adults need and what they can afford–we know that approximately 85% of unmet social needs directly contribute critically to health and wellbeing. The Vibrant Village is a reliable access point for social care that helps residents cross things off their to-do list while feeling seen, heard, and valued.”
Julie, one of Tori’s GoodLife residents, was paying someone to walk with her every day to keep moving after surgery. Now with Vibrant Village, she gets a visit from a friendly neighbor and receives the same help. “The value of this is not just in having people help you or offering help in return. It’s also what it does for your heart in a very emotional way,” shares Julie. “So many things the Vibrant Village volunteers have done are deeply meaningful and make me happy.”
Propelling a culture of community
For many residents, asking for help can be challenging. Family often carries the weight of favors and daily tasks. For Julie and others, Vibrant Village offers the opportunity to ask for assistance while preserving family dynamic. Not only can she get the most out of time with loved ones, but Julie is also building new relationships and propelling a culture of community.
“A volunteer helped me mix ingredients in a bowl – something I can’t do easily anymore – so I could bake a family recipe. That allowed me to give my family a special treat, and brought me so much joy.”
Residents receiving services aren’t the only ones who benefit from Vibrant Village. Tori says, “at our core we are in the business of building community, because the independence we value is only possible when we embrace interdependence. The value of the Vibrant Village is not only in what we do, but why we do it.” The program encourages residents to get involved on both ends of the program, contributing and receiving services to encourage a thriving environment of independent living.
Partnering for the GoodLife
From a program perspective, Vibrant Village is a simple concept. It’s low cost, and easy to implement and run. Residents find the platform user friendly and simple to use. Now that GoodLife (with support from the national village movement and the Village to Village Network) has put the work into creating necessary policies and guidelines, it would be easy for a partner to adopt this model and bring a higher level of care to their residents.
If you are a GoodLife resident or loved one and want to learn more, or a potential partner interested in bringing Vibrant Village to your community, reach out to us. We can’t wait to talk with you!