Successful Aging-in-place Program Avenidas Village Celebrates 5th Anniversary

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Two free informational "coffee chats" will be held on Oct. 25 at 10am or Oct. 29 at 2pm for people to attend and learn more about whether this program will help them maintain their independence!

Avenidas Village, when first launched five years ago in October of 2007, was cutting edge to start with, being the first on the West Coast to open, the first to affiliate with an existing non-profit senior services agency, and the first to reach 350 members in just 6 months.

“The reason we’re one of the biggest and highest ranking Villages since launching is because we’ve been innovative, and the driving force behind that innovation is our members,” states Avenidas Village Director Vickie Epstein. “We’ve listened to them when they’ve made requests and worked hard to meet their needs, because this Village is really about what our members want and need, after all,” she notes.

For example, when Avenidas Village learned that members wanted to be able to contact someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and on weekends and holidays, staff implemented a system that gave this 24/7 emergency capability. When members wondered if they were the only ones who “tuned out” the important words of their doctors, staff put their heads together and developed a “MedPal” program designed to give Avenidas Village members an extra set of eyes and ears when they went to the doctor’s. This trained volunteer takes notes for free during the appointment and then provides them to the member for reference.

After seeing that members weren’t sure where to turn in certain situations, Avenidas Village created a “Legal 411” program. One call to this free service, and the member is given direction on what avenue to pursue next.

Upon receiving requests for various types of products and services that members thought would be helpful, staff expanded the network of vendors accordingly, from a starting point of about 20-50 vendors to 190 currently.

Through the Avenidas Village social committee, made up of members, 30 different social events are offered each year, many which are low in price or even free. In honor of its 5th anniversary, an afternoon soiree will be held at Allied Arts in Menlo Park for members and any of their friends who want to learn more about the program.

Additionally, Avenidas Village has collaborated with Palo Alto Medical Foundation to provide help and information to patients and members. One way this was done was to present a “Successful Aging” celebration that attracted 450 people on a Saturday.

One of Avenidas Village's newest inventions--ER INFO--was again member-driven. This flash drive that holds key emergency medical information came about after several members wanted a way to have this info handy while out walking, in case something happened them. They asked, Avenidas Village answered. And now, more and more Village members are getting their emergency medical data stored on these flash drives as we speak, and Avenidas is also making it available to seniors everywhere.

Five years later, Avenidas Village continues to fine tune its offerings and keep innovating, and members have shown their approval, with 90% renewing their membership each year.

So after reflecting on the accomplishments made in the past five years, thanks to members’ input, Avenidas Village is excited to see what might be developed in the next five years.

Come join Avenidas for two informational “coffee chats” on October 25th at 10 am and October 29th at 2 pm to discuss all of the resources for older adults made available at Avenidas Village. These chats are free events where people have a chance to discuss questions or concerns, with coffee and refreshments being served, and free gifts for all attendees. Avenidas is located at 450 Bryant St. in Palo Alto, and there is plenty of free parking in the garage across the street. Any interested parties should RSVP by calling (650) 289-5405.

About the company:
Avenidas is a non-profit agency that seeks to create a community that supports and celebrates older adults. They provide a wide range of support options, information, and services that enable people to stay active, maintain their independence, help their aging parents, or care for a spouse. Their innovative programs and compassionate staff (paid and volunteer)help enrich the lives of more than 6,500 mature adults and their families each year.

A community-based nonprofit organization, Avenidas serves the San Francisco Bay Area mid-Peninsula communities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside, and Mountain View. For more information, please visit their website at

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Kari Martell
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