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Aging In Place With STL Village

Central West End organization plans community symposium for seniors

STL Village members, from left, Henrietta Parram, Delores McCrea, Beverley Foster and Arthur Culbert, en route to Washington University for a "When I'm Sixty-Four: Transforming Your Future" class. The class, which is offered for credit, is designed to promote discussion among younger people regarding issues important to senior citizens. | photo courtesy STL Village (click for larger version)

July 11, 2018
An African proverb says it takes a whole village to raise a child. But what does it take to provide for seniors who want to remain in their communities during their golden years? STL Village is a volunteer organization set on answering that question.

"The concept is really based on a neighborhood where older adults choose to reside at home in their own communities as opposed to moving to an age-segregated facility and basically recognizing as you age you need support services," said Madeline Franklin, executive director of STL Village.

Franklin's organization is one of several hundred Village branches across the country and the only one in Missouri. STL Village provides services for seniors to make their lives at home a little easier, including transportation, minor home repairs, pet sitting, bill preparation and a social network to combat isolation, complete with a monthly calendar of community events.

STL Village recently partnered with the Central West End Association (CWEA) to sponsor the Aging in Community Symposium. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at The Biome School, 4471 Olive St.

"I really wanted to partner with STL Village in some fashion," said CWEA President Kate Walter. "There's an increased elderly aging population in the Central West End. The association's job is to represent our members and speak to their concerns. One of them is to be able to stay in the home that more than likely they've had for 30, 40, 50 years."

The symposium will feature several speakers who will present and field questions on aging, transitioning into retirement and finding purpose once retired. Speakers include Washington University's Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D., director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging; and Brian Carpenter, Ph.D., professor of psychological and brain sciences.

"Often when people grow older, they need to rely on their family members for more help," said Carpenter. "For them to work together efficiently, they need to know what's important to each other. But people don't usually talk about those things unless there's some emergency.

"I'll be talking about why it's important for families to talk about aging early, some research that suggests we might not know our families as well as we think we do and some strategies about how to have those conversations with each other," said Carpenter.

Also available will be exhibitors to provide information on topics like downsizing, home modification and memory loss solutions. Exhibitors include AARP, the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and Oasis.

The symposium is free to the public and requires no registration. Interested parties need not be 50 or older to attend; just willing to learn.

"Our population is aging," said Franklin. "The majority of older adults will want to continue to age at home. It's a lot more cost-efficient to do it. We need to find out the resources that are available. (The symposium) gives people the opportunity to understand and learn more."

For more information about the symposium or STL Village, visit stlvillage.org or call 314-240-5020.

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