View a Marblehead TV video about Seaglass Village, featuring conversations with members and volunteers.
Heidi Whear, President and Founder of Seaglass Village, was quoted in an April 18, 2022 article in the Boston Globe, “Pandemic's lesson for many older folks: Stay in your home as long as you can."
In a New York Times article dated March 14, 2022, “Generation X Volunteers Want to Help You, and One Day Themselves, Age at Home,” writer Tammy La Gorce discusses the Village Movement, and describes how a younger generation is now getting involved in the movement.
It profiles Susan McWhinney-Morse, 88, one of the founders of the Village Movement, which began in Boston with Beacon Hill Village and laid the groundwork for organizations such as Seaglass Village. As the article explains, the Village Movement attempts to create links between neighbors, mostly those nearing retirement, who want to age in place and help others do so.
Although many involved with the movement are of retirement age and older, younger people—those in their forties and fifties are becoming involved both in starting villages and in volunteering for them. As the article points out, “The movement’s caring, common-sense core drew them,” and they are looking ahead to an organization that will help them as they grow older. Some have witnessed parents aging with few or no supports and want to help others—including themselves—avoid that fate. In addition, the isolation dictated by the pandemic gave some Gen Xers a foreshadowing of the kind of isolation sometimes faced by elders.
Barbara Sullivan, executive director of the Village to Village Network (an organizing body for hundreds of villages), is quoted as saying, “When I look at Gen Xers, I see a generation that is witnessing the Silent Generation and baby boomers reaching their golden years and needing more services. They’re saying, OK, I’m 55. In 10 years, we’re going to be retiring. Where do we want to be?”
The article profiles a number of volunteers at villages throughout the country and points out the many ways an organization like Seaglass can be “potentially life changing,” even for those who have not yet retired. Certainly many people benefit from the services of villages, but volunteers benefit by using their own skills in ways that keep their “minds active, bodies healthy and souls intact.”
Although villages don’t suit everyone’s needs—for one thing, they are largely white and middle class—and some villages struggle with financial stability and maintaining and growing membership, by and large the article gives a sense of the movement as a positive force for both seniors and those in younger generations.
Those with a New York Times subscription can find the article here. For those without subscriptions, we have provided a summary and encourage you to read the article in your local library. If you have a library card, you can access the article online by going to https://www.noblenet.org/databases. You will need to enter your library card number. Under Business Research, choose New York Times. On the next page, type “Building a Generational Partnership for the Aged” in the search bar, and the article will appear.