Community Foundation logo of a tree, says "The Community Foundation of the New River Valley"

The Aging in Place Initiative is celebrating a major collaborative success in the recent publication of a new Aging in Place Workbook, Facilitation Guide, and Video Series. These resources come at a critical time for the region, when an aging population and housing infrastructure present risks and challenges for older adults and caregivers alike. Regional data show that by 2030, the number of NRV residents aged 65+ is expected to double, and nearly 1 in 4 residents in Giles and Pulaski counties will be above age 65. Yet, 50% of the region’s housing stock is at least 40 years old and is ill-suited for those with declining mobility.

To address these challenges and support the creation of lifespan friendly communities, the Community Foundation of the New River Valley (CFNRV) joined with several local leaders to form the Aging in Place Leadership Team, which oversaw the creation of these new Aging in Place resources. The group includes developers, policymakers, regional nonprofits, citizens, and service providers, and has been working together for several years to address aging issues in the region.

The new resources help NRV community members and facilitators work through key decisions that individuals will need to make around aging in a structured, pre-planned fashion. The collaborative effort has been so well-regarded that the most recent workbooks and video series were funded by the Geriatric Training and Education Fund through Virginia Commonwealth University. These NRV resources will soon be utilized across the Commonwealth.

Pat Hyer, Vice President of the CFNRV board of directors and member of the Aging in Place Leadership Team, explained that the effort makes a very complex topic concrete and accessible for multiple audiences. Hyer said, “Of course we all say we want to age in place, but how do we make that happen? Few people have really thought through a plan that could turn this intention into a realistic and functional possibility when faced with a sudden health crisis, loss of a spouse, or other challenges to our ability to manage independently in our homes. That’s where the Aging in Place workbook and supporting materials come in, guiding individuals (or a group) through the issues you and your family members need to consider. The workbook is full of probing questions, links to important resources, and planning tools. We are eager to start sharing these well thought-out materials with seniors in the New River Valley and beyond.”

Executive Director of the CFNRV, Jessica Wirgau, said, “This is an outstanding example of what can happen when nonprofits, community members, policymakers, and other stakeholders come together to tackle a complex issue facing the NRV. Aging in Place is a major focus for the CFNRV. We are delighted to be a partner in the process and with the quality of the resources that have come out of the effort. I look forward to continuing our support and seeing this resource made available throughout the Commonwealth.”

To learn more about the initiative and access these resources, visit: http://www.nrvaoa.org/aging-in-place/. For more information on the Community Foundation and its support for Aging in Place and other complex issues facing the NRV, contact Jessica Wirgau at jessicawirgau@cfnrv.org.