VivaVillage is finding new ways to help seniors connect in two significant ways

VivaVillage is finding new ways to help seniors connect in two significant ways

VivaVillage understands that aging is a team sport

Like other community groups, Viva Village relies on person-to-person encounters to fulfill its mission. Not surprisingly, the necessary social distancing of the Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the Village in two significant ways.

First, it has limited the range of services to its members (volunteers driving members to appointments, providing technical or other household assistance in their homes, etc.). Second, it has put a giant “pause” on its many social and educational activities.

As the duration of quarantine lengthens, we are discovering ways to meet both challenges. For example, we are finding new ways to safely provide needed services to members, some of which have changed with the quarantine. Volunteers are doing more grocery shopping and delivery for the housebound. They are picking up prescriptions, taking packages to the Post Office, providing garden care, and even delivering plant starts to gardeners.

And, we are learning to connect virtually, not around a table, or on a trail, or seated in a living room, but seated (unmasked) before a screen in our own homes, embracing what the Village is about: connections, engagement, and support of each other.

When we realized the quarantine would last longer than a few short weeks, many members and volunteers took on the challenge of learning to use Zoom!  Throughout the week there are now opportunities to enjoy our Village connections, swap stories, share insights and laugh!

More and more folks now look forward to connecting with their friends in Viva Village Book Club meetings, Women’s Coffees, Men’s Coffee Breaks, and Neighborhood Connections.

We are learning about the creativity and ingenuity of one another, as we share how we spend our time: discovering family treasures through genealogy, learning a new language, sprucing up our gardens, writing creatively, and connecting with family members all over the world.

In a recent Women’s Coffee, we shared heart-warming stories about our mothers for Mother’s Day and then how our generation might have handled this pandemic in the 50s!

Seeing each other’s faces, hearing each other laugh, and continuing to thoroughly enjoy each other is so necessary for our well-being. We will continue to be sustained by these good times and look forward to building on them in person when the time is right!

Join us for Online Age Cafe

Online Age Cafe, a unique collaboration between Viva Village (vivavillage.clubexpress.com), the Beaverton City Library, and Washington County’s Disability, Aging, and Veterans Services continues through June on Fridays, from 11 to noon.

Online Age Cafe gives participants the opportunity to take part (via ZOOM) in small, facilitated, breakout group discussions to explore particular issues, feelings, and concerns around aging. While anyone can participate, Online Age Cafe can have particular value for seniors/older adults currently separated from friends, their adult children, and grandchildren.

Age Cafe was originally intended to take place at the Beaverton City Library, using the very successful model of World Cafe, a way for engaging people in conversations that matter. Participants, who may or may not know each other, sit together at tables in a simulated cafe setting, complete with food and beverage, and converse about issues of particular interest/importance with the guidance of trained facilitators. Online Age Cafe enables participants to converse safely, while remaining in the comfort of their own homes. The discussion topic for May was Helping Each OtherThrough the Coronavirus Crisis.

The topic for the first session in June is Exploring Issues for Seniors as we Negotiate Living Through a Pandemic. To register, go to vivavillage.clubexpress.org and click on Calendar at the top of the screen. On the Calendar page, click on the event(s) you want to participate in.

Note: Non-members are welcome to participate in any of the upcoming online events that are open to all. Check out the Upcoming Events list at vivavillage.clubexpress.com.  To get the Zoom link, select the event in which you want to participate.