Aging in Place

Aging in Place

Fulfilling the mission of ‘Potomac Community Village.’

Organizers of the Potomac Community Village are, from left, Nelly Urbach, Jane Blocher and Shirley Dominitz.

Organizers of the Potomac Community Village are, from left, Nelly Urbach, Jane Blocher and Shirley Dominitz. Photo Contributed

— Plan to attend informational meeting about aging in place 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Congregation Har Shalom.

Potomac’s Nelly Urbach served as director of the Walter Reed Senior Center in Arlington, Va., for 30 years. While working, she kept “The Village Movement” on her radar — the concept of establishing and managing villages to enable people to remain living in their own homes and communities as they age. After she retired, she asked herself, “What will I do if Potomac does not have a senior village when I need it?” With that goal in mind, she began the process of establishing the “Potomac Community Village” as part of Montgomery County’s Aging in Place movement.

Aging in Place addresses a dilemma many seniors are facing of how to remain in their Potomac homes and community near family and friends as they get older. They want to continue in as many activities as possible, but may require support. Many don’t want to end up in an age-segregated, isolated retirement community.


Potomac Community Village Planning Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 29

7:30 – 9 p.m.

Congregation Har Shalom

11510 Falls Road, Potomac

For information, contact Nelly Urbach at nurbach11@verizon.n… or Rabbi Leonard Cahan

The village concept encourages and supports seniors to “age in place” — to remain at home in familiar intergenerational neighborhoods while maintaining their independence, activities and social lives. In addition, the program promotes a stronger, more vital community because it unites residents through volunteerism, neighborly acts and working together for the common goal of improving relationships within a community. The biggest advantage is that older adults can maintain the lifestyle they desire by remaining in their homes

“The village concept is a community of neighbors who both give and receive help as needed. Although services are targeted to older people, members of the village can be of all ages. We want to encourage people who represent all segments of the Potomac Community to become involved,” Urbach said.

“Some of the proposed services being discussed for the Potomac Community Village are transportation, simple household chores, socialization, referrals to reliable service providers, neighborhood respite care, welcoming new residents, intergenerational reciprocity, telephone reassurance and technology assistance,” she said,

Leslie Marks, who produced “The Village Blueprint” for Montgomery County said, “Every village must have a core group of people who want to make the village concept work. Everyone involved must be vested. If an 80-year- old woman needs transportation to the doctor, then she can be called upon to perform other tasks for the community; it might be reading to children, addressing envelopes, organizing information — everyone has a skill and a talent. The idea is neighbors helping neighbors. The village can be organized as a totally volunteer group, or a membership fee can be paid and concierge services can be offered to act as a go-between to provide services to members.”

Potomac’s Shirley Dominitz, Jane Blocher and Rabbi Leonard Cahan have also been active members of the initial committee to figure out the best methods for developing the program and putting the plan into motion.

“We held our first meeting last May, 2012. We now have a steering committee of 14,” said Dominitz. “As we discuss the concept with others, they quickly get on-board. People have been generous about talking to us about how to organize our program and volunteering to help us get it going. Experts such as Leslie Marks and Elinor Ginzler have shared their time and expertise with us. We have gathered information from many sources and now have come a long way in a very short time. We plan to incorporate as a State of Maryland non-profit and then we will continue on toward establishing our village. It’s very exciting to be on the initial planning stages of a program that will make Potomac a better place to live.”

Blocher said, “We hope interested people will attend the meeting and become active members of the committee. We need people who enjoy creating and building something new — and who want to be involved in service to our community. People are wanted to help develop a business plan and we also need those with strong marketing, accounting and computer skills. Because the Senior Connection of the JCA just received a grant to create a transportation system called Village Rides, providing transportation for all who belong to Villages, we are motivated to move quickly to take advantage of this.”

The next meeting of the Potomac Community Village will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 7:30 – 9 p.m. at Congregation Har Shalom, 11510 Falls Road in Potomac. For more information or to get involved with this new concept for Potomac, contact Nelly Urbach at or Rabbi Leonard Cahan at, or call Nelly Urbach at 301-299-2522 to find out more or to volunteer.