HAYWARD -- Archie Cox has no plans to move out of his home, where he has lived since 1968, so when he heard about a growing cooperative support network of seniors aging in place, he set about seeing if there was a way for his neighborhood to be a part of it.

The 88-year-old reached out to his Fairway Park neighborhood association, which helped organize the first meetings. The group has grown to include the larger Eden area, which covers Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley. Eden Village, which is very much in its infancy and still developing, will hold its next meeting Saturday, and anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Village to Village is a network of local membership-based groups that help people stay in their homes as they age by providing services such as transportation and home maintenance. The first "village" began in Boston in 2001; since then, the idea has spread across the nation.

In the Bay Area, villages have started in North Oakland, Foster City, Berkeley's Ashby neighborhood Palo Alto and other communities, Cox said.

"This idea of where we help each other out works," he said. "It's just neighbors helping neighbors. If others can do it, we can, too."

Most villages have a combination of volunteers and paid staff, and seniors pay $400 to $1,500 in yearly dues, said David Korth, Hayward's neighborhood services manager, who is advising Eden Village.


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In exchange, members get help with transportation, gardening, shopping and other tasks, he said. In addition, villages create a list of recommended service providers, such as contractors, who have been vetted and often offer discounts.

"I know people who work for me I trust and who I would recommend," Cox said. "We could have a list of people who will do a good job at a reasonable price, and you won't be afraid of letting them into your home."

Another important function villages provide is social activity, said Blair Barnett, one of the early Eden organizers.

"Some people are isolated," he said. "We would provide community activities. And you could arrange to have somebody call you each day to check up on you."

Eden Village is working on a business plan to present to local nonprofit agencies with the hope that one will partner with the group and offer expertise, Korth said. The group also wants more people to join, said member Olive Steward, of Hayward.

"The more people you have, the more volunteers you have," she said. "People fear it's going to be costly, but it's not. It's about seniors staying in their homes."

A survey by the National Council on Aging found that about 90 percent of seniors plan to stay in their homes for the next five to 10 years. Steward said Eden Village is intended to help them accomplish that.

"I have an excellent house cleaner and handyman," she said. "I'm pretty self-sufficient, but I'm hoping to have somebody help me if I need it."

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.

Eden Village
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Weekes Branch Library Community Room, 27300 Patrick Ave., Hayward
Details: www.facebook.com/EdenAreaVillage