Although in contemporary America seniors are less likely to live with their children, compared to other parts of the world, AARP’s 2021 “Home and Community Preferences Survey” found that 52 percent of U.S. adults live in multigenerational households. AARP reported that “among those polled, 40 percent said they care for someone living in their home and 38 percent look after someone living on their own. Of those, nearly half worried about the ability of the person they care for to continue living independently.”

Even if you have children or other relatives who can help you out, a key part of aging in place involves setting up a support system for your social, personal, and medical needs. Think of this as creating a stand-in family.

That’s where elder villages come in. These are usually neighborhood-focused networks that offer social, medical, and household resources (usually from volunteers) that can help you stay in place.

In 2001 a handful of older residents of Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood became concerned about how they would stay in their neighborhood and their homes into their 80s and 90s. This led to the founding of the country’s first elder village, Beacon Hill Village, a volunteer neighborhood group designed to provide social connections and practical assistance to older adults. There are now hundreds of these villages in the U.S., with many more in development. Some cover entire counties; others focus on small, often walkable neighborhoods.

Each village offers a range of services and benefits, from finding teenagers to play chess with residents to helping with grocery shopping. Typically, a small tax-deductible fee (usually $100 to $500 a year, with many villages offering scholarships for lower-income residents) lets members take advantage of benefits like rides to medical appointments, dog-walking, yardwork, home fix-ups, and tech assistance. The most active villages also offer social activities like book clubs and walking groups.

If there’s no village in your area, you can help found one. You’ll need to:

  • Organize a group of nearby neighbors interested in staying in their homes.
  • You can learn about the village model and get referrals to other resources at the Village to Village Network website. You can sign up for a 12-month “Opportunity Member Trial Membership” for $175, with access to its library of documents, webinars, toolkits, and other resources. (Regular memberships cost $200 to $425/year per village, depending on size and model.)
  • Decide on a geographic area you’d like to cover. Many active villages serve smaller walkable neighborhoods; some encompass whole counties.
  • To avoid duplicating services already offered for free or almost free by local governments, talk to local councils or agencies on aging (see the list below). Also find out if your local aging agencies have policies or programs to encourage village-forming.
  • Evaluate whether you’d like to operate the village as a primarily volunteer operation (lower operating costs and membership fees) or a staffed organization. Volunteer villages often grow into staffed villages as membership increases.
  • Can you establish a brick-and-mortar headquarters, or do you want to run the village remotely? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Having a physical location often benefits members, but it can be expensive.

Listed below are active villages we could find operating in the Bay Area. Did we miss any? Have an update to the info we collected? Email us at [email protected] We’ll try to keep this list up to date.
 

Elder Villages in the Bay Area


Ashby Village

  • 1821 Catalina Avenue, Berkeley, 510-204-9200, ashbyvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves residents age 50+ of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, Richmond, and parts of Oakland; requires that all members be self sufficient, including a requirement that members not have dementia
  • Transportation, light gardening, small repairs, medical companion, technology assistance, companionship, organizing, food prep, pet care, absent home care, support services, wellness outings, social and cultural activities, exercise activities, interest groups, walking buddy, reading aloud, lends out medical equipment, service referrals, support groups, friendly visits and phone calls
  • Individual membership: $750 annually; household membership: $1,200 annually; subsidized memberships available

Avenidas Village

  • 450 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, 650-289-5405, avenidas.helpfulvillage.com, [email protected]
  • Open to those age 50+ living in Los Altos, Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Stanford, and Woodside
  • Social and cultural outings, social events, transportation, simple chores, 2 hours of handyman services per year, technology assistance, legal assistance, interest groups, emergency preparedness, friendly visits and phone calls, Med-Pal assistance at medical appointments, service referrals, includes Gold Level membership to Avenidas Senior Center
  • Individual membership: $970 annually; dual household membership: $1,390 annually

Carquinez Village

  • 77 Solano Square #279, Benecia, 707-297-2472, carquinezvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves residents age 60+ of the Benecia and Vallejo area
  • Transportation, errands, grocery shopping, gardening help, friendly visits and phone calls, light housekeeping, light household repairs, meal preparation, medical appointment notetaking, technology assistance, social activities, cultural and educational programs, interest groups, safety assessments and education
  • Individual membership: $360 annually; household membership: $540 annually; scholarships available

Clayton Valley Village

  • P.O. Box 1274, Clayton, 925-626-0411, claytonvalleyvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves residents age 50+ of Clayton and parts of Concord
  • Transportation, light home maintenance and gardening help, delivery of food and staples, technology assistance, friendly visits, social activities, educational and cultural events, safety assessments, service referrals
  • Individual membership: $480 annually; household membership: $660 annually

Eden Area Village

  • P.O. Box 474, Hayward, 510-969-2732, edenareavillage.clubexpress.com, [email protected]
  • Serves senior residents of Hayward, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley and adjacent unincorporated areas
  • Transportation, light household maintenance and repairs, friendly phone calls, social events
  • Free (donations accepted)

Foster City Village

  • 1000 East Hillsdale Boulevard, Foster City, 650-378-8541, fostercityvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves residents of Zip code 94404
  • Service referrals, home safety assessments, disaster preparedness, social events, field trips, walking group, education, support groups, fall prevention, check-ins, doctor visit assistance, errands, transportation, technology assistance, yard clean up, light lawn care, pet care, minor household repairs and maintenance, medication and household hazardous waste disposal
  • Full individual membership: $365 annually; full couples membership: $475 annually. Social individual membership: $175 annually; social couples membership: $250 annually; subsidized memberships available

Greater Niles Village

  • P.O. Box 2021, Fremont, 510-936-0214, greaternilesvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves older adults in Fremont; full-service memberships for those living in neighborhoods along Mission Boulevard from Union City to Morrison Canyon
  • Social and educational events, service referrals, volunteer-provided services
  • Full-service individual membership: $360 annually; full-service household membership: $480 annually; Social household membership: $240 annually; subsidized memberships available    

Lamorinda Village

  • P.O. Box 57, Lafayette, 925-283-3500, lamorindavillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves age 55+ residents of Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda
  • Transportation, exercise activities, book clubs, occasional meal prep, basic household tasks and light gardening, technology assistance, home safety evaluations, friendly visits and phone calls, service referrals, educational activities, social events
  • Individual membership: $360 annually; household membership: $600 annually; fee assistance available

Marin Villages

  • 4340 Redwood Highway, Suite F142, San Rafael, 415-457-4633, marinvillages.org[email protected]
  • Serves residents of Mill Valley, Novato, Ross Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon Peninsula, Twin Cities
  • Social events, educational programs, interest groups, transportation, grocery shopping, errands, technology assistance, small household tasks, pet care, service referrals, friendly visits and phone calls, emergency preparedness
  • Individual Membership: $450 annually; household membership: $600 annually; discounted memberships available

NEXT Village SF

  • P.O. Box 330278, San Francisco, 415-888-2868, nextvillagesf.org, [email protected]
  • Serves age 60+ residents of northeast San Francisco, including: the Financial District, The Marina, Nob Hill, North Beach, Northern Waterfront, Polk Gulch, Russian Hill, and Telegraph Hill
  • Transportation, shopping help, online shopping help, friendly visits and phone calls, absent home care, pet care, minor household chores and repairs, technology assistance, service referrals, social and cultural events, support groups, exercise partners and classes, educational seminars, post-hospital assistance, home safety assessments, decluttering help, companionship
  • Full membership: $600 annually (up to 2 people); associate membership (for those with limited income): $120 annually; income under $48,500: free

San Francisco Village

  • 3220 Fulton Street, San Francisco, 415-387-1375, sfvillage.org, [email protected]
  • Serves age 60+ residents of San Francisco
  • Social and educational events, interest groups, home safety assessments, friendly phone calls and visits, exercise classes, transportation, errand help, technology assistance, light household help, light gardening, organizing and downsizing help, meal preparation and delivery, pet care, service referrals
  • Individual membership: $10-$50 per month; household membership: $15-$62.50 per month; members choose amount based on ability to pay

Sausalito Village

  • P.O. Box 208, Sausalito, 415-332-3325, sausalitovillage.org[email protected]
  • Serves all residents living in the city of Sausalito and the Floating Homes community
  • Transportation, friendly phone check-ins, errand help, help with minor chores, technology assistance, emergency preparedness, healthcare advocacy, social and educational events, interest groups, exercise groups, cultural outings
  • Household membership: $200 annually; fee waivers and reduced fee memberships available

UpValley Village

  • 414 South Jefferson Street, Napa, 707-815-0217, upvalley.helpfulvillage.com, [email protected]
  • Serves age 60+ residents of Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, and Angwin
  • Transportation, help with small household projects, technology assistance, friendly visits, service referrals, social, educational, and wellness activities
  • Individual membership: $600 annually; household membership: $900 annually; Social membership: $300 annually for individuals, $450 annually for households; sponsored memberships available

Village Network of Petaluma

  • 410 D Street, Petaluma, 707-776-6055, villagenetworkofpetaluma.org, [email protected]
  • Serves age 50+ residents of Petaluma and Penngrove (residents of other Sonoma County cities may join as associate members)
  • Transportation, minor home repairs, grocery shopping, note-taking at doctor appointments, technology assistance, friendly phone calls and visits, occasional pet care, errand help, grocery shopping, service referrals, social groups, exercise groups, educational activities
  • Membership: $635 annually for individuals, $935 annually for households; Associate membership (for residents of Sonoma County outside of Petaluma or Penngrove, with maximum of 3 volunteer services per year): $345 annually for individuals, $525 annually for households; subsidized memberships available

Village Santa Cruz County

  • 1740 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, 831-824-2404, villagesantacruz.org, [email protected]
  • Serves age 18+ residents of Santa Cruz County
  • Transportation, minor household chores, technology assistance, friendly visits and phone calls, collaborations on home/yard chores, social activities, educational presentations, exercise activities
  • Membership: $25 per month ($10 extra per month for each additional household member); subsidized memberships available

Villages of San Mateo County (Sequoia Village, Mid-Peninsula Village, and Village of the Coastside)

  • Main office: P.O. Box 813, San Carlos, 650-260-4569, villagesofsmc.org, [email protected];
  • Coastside office: P.O. Box 1595, El Granada, 650-440-5030
  • Serves residents of the Sequoia (Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, and Redwood Shores), the Mid-Peninsula Region (San Mateo, Burlingame, and Hillsborough), and Coastside (Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara, Pacifica, Skyline, and Pescadero)
  • Access to volunteer services (full membership level), transportation, light home maintenance, technology assistance, service referrals, social, cultural and educational opportunities
  • Sequoia and Mid-Peninsula: Individual membership: $600 annually; household membership: $750 annually; social membership: $300 annually per individual, $425 annually per household; Coastside: basic membership: $240 annually per individual, $300 annually per household; membership plus: $480 annually per individual; $600 annually per household; scholarships may be available

Walnut Creek Village

  • 712 Bancroft Road, Suite 871, Walnut Creek, 925-956-1990, walnutcreekvillage.org
  • Serves those age 55 and older living in Alamo, Walnut Creek, and bordering areas that lack villages
  • Social events, access to preferred service providers, transportation, grocery shopping, home maintenance, pet care, technology assistance, exercise classes, interest groups, cultural and educational events
  • Individual membership: $730 annually; household membership: $950 annually