YORK — The town of York is creating a neighborhood network to help aging residents remain in their homes.
York Housing Executive Director Patricia Martine said she’s long pondered how to keep seniors with no community connections or nearby family in the homes where they’re happiest and out of elderly complexes that typically have long waiting lists.
Now York Housing and York Hospital are joining up to start Neighborhood Network, a program to provide resources, referrals and social opportunities to seniors in the towns of York, Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, Ogunquit and Wells.
Martine tells the Portsmouth Herald that “a neighborhood is a neighborhood; it doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar.”
Network members pay an annual fee. The network is also recruiting volunteers willing to assist seniors, knowing they’ll someday need some help themselves.
Martine said another key component of Neighborhood Network is marshalling a team of pre-approved vendors and service providers, such as plumbers, dog sitters, computer technicians and hairdressers, who are willing to undergo criminal background checks.
Neighborhood Network is modeled after Boston’s Beacon Hill Village, which pioneered the concept in 2002 to help the aging remain in their beloved Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Laura Collins of Beacon Hill Village told the newspaper the power of the model “is that older adults are taking charge of their own aging by designing the supports, services and programs that they want for themselves.”
Martine said she’s embracing the venture as an extension of York Housing’s goal.
“Our mission is patience, acceptance and compassion for all. That’s huge for us,” Martine said. “Neighborhood Network gives us a larger audience.”