Capital City Village members and friends were supposed to hear surgeon, professor, and author Atal Gawande on Monday, February
13, talk about his book Being Mortal. The occasion was a celebration of the 15 th anniversary of
the founding of the Village movement. The intended venue for the webinar broadcast was
Boston’s public library, but owing to a heavy snow storm, it was closed.
Word that the webinar was cancelled came early Monday, but Capital City Village and the
Jewish Community Center carried on because the room at the JCC was ready and Whole Foods
had donated refreshments. On with the show!
Thirty-four Villagers and guests showed up. After a brief socializing time, Executive Director
Tommi Ferguson called the gathering to order, and we took seats around several tables in the
meeting area. She asked founding member Mart Hoffman to tell a little of the history of the
Village idea. He recounted that it started with seniors in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of
Boston, and after the New York Times ran a story about it in 2006, his wife, Sue, visited the
Beacon Hill Village on a business trip. That trip planted the seed for Capital City Village.
“One call does it all,” said Mart. One call to the CCV office suffices for referrals, assistance, or
information. He told the group we offer educational programs, transportation to members who
don’t drive, and social activities.
“The secret sauce of the Village is social engagement,” he said. “Even as we age, we are making
new friends,” he added.
When he finished, Tommi asked the table groups to discuss the obstacles that people face as they
age. She asked that after about half an hour, each table would designate a spokesperson to
summarize what the group had discussed.
One after the other, our table scribes listed their group’s findings, and all placed transportation as
the number one challenge in the event a person can no longer drive. Stemming from that was
another observation, that those who have physical disabilities can face social isolation. Other
aging problems included managing a household, having fresh and interesting meals, fear of new
doctors, and the attachment to a long-time home for those considering down-sizing or moving to
a retirement community.
So, yes, we had a good time, covered important topics, and made some new friends.