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The Tierrasanta Project, an aging-in-place grassroots effort, now almost 2 years old, will become Tierrasanta Village of San Diego, an off-spring of Beacon Hill Village of Boston, MA. The plan is to provide a single telephone number that a village member can call for assistance with any number of problems or to participate in any number of activities. Our village intends to address three basic needs: to maintain a sense of community, to provide a full menu of concierge services and to offer home health care oversight. The services are designed to meet the needs of adults 50 years and older.
My co-director, Candy Walsh, describes it as being like a bicycle tire: the hub of the wheel represents the staff paid by membership dues. The tire is the membership and the spokes represent service providers, social programs and health care links organized by the staff for the membership.
Tierrasanta Village is a non-profit concept that will be overseen by a Board of Directors. A big challenge to overcome in developing this concept is “ageism.” Ageism is looking at older persons as “debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.” This viewpoint keeps adults from accepting the fact that they are aging even though they have seen their parents or grandparents age — it’s not going to happen to them.
There are costs to averting our eyes from the realities of aging. We deprive ourselves of opportunities to change the individual experience of aging for the better. We risk having others control our future, a future based on their perception of our needs, not ours! The Village concept has a goal: helping to form a community now, while its members are younger, so that they don’t have to leave their homes and community before they want to.
Tierrasanta Village of San Diego is about “aging in place,” maintaining independence, and prolonging the lifestyle we have come to treasure.
— SUSAN DEININGER