To the editor:
Your “Helping village” editorial (July 17) supported local organizers working to create a village which allows people to age in their homes by providing discounted and/or volunteer services. You questioned whether the organizers could work with an existing social service agency to implement the program.
Independence Inc. already has assumed this role. Independence Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, peer support, training, personal care attendants and transportation for people with disabilities. Since 1978, we have worked to make our community, not institutions, the best place for people with disabilities to live. More than one out of three people with disabilities are senior citizens.
Studies show 90 percent of people want to “age in place,” rather than in facilities. The natural link between independent living and seniors is why I serve as chair of the Lawrence Douglas County Advocacy Council on Aging, a group of city- and county-appointed members. The council takes on projects to improve seniors’ lives. Participants include Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging and Visiting Nurses, but most members are concerned seniors.
Independence Inc. supported the early planning phases of this project by providing leadership, meeting space and volunteer recruitment, which Independence Inc. coordinated with the Roger Hill Volunteer Center.
The village concept can come to life with the support of other organizations and individuals. We must use all of the community’s available resources efficiently, which is why the Advocacy Council on Aging also hopes to combine efforts with the Retiree and Retention Task Force.