Why the Need for Arcadia Village?
Within our society, elders’ talents and experiences are largely untapped; their collective wisdom gained over decades of living, largely now lies fallow. This is an unfortunate waste of invaluable human resources that could be applied to addressing the serious societal and environmental problems that we face.
Throughout most of known human history, societies have had an honored role for their older members—a role that was recognized as critical to the wellbeing of the community. This was the role of elder. It was the elders who held the responsibility for mentoring the young; for telling the stories that communicated the history and most deeply held values of the culture; for seeing the bigger picture and from that perspective reminding the community of the importance in decision making, of holding the wellbeing of the generations to come as a critical priority. It was the elders who were expected to have grown into a state of personal wholeness so they could serve their community as models for healthy human development.
The world needs the vision and gifts of elders. Elder-hood is being recognized as a life stage with the potential to be a time of wholeness, passion, purpose, continuing growth and commitment to service. It can be the culmination of one’s personal development. But becoming such an elder does not just happen. Developing such qualities is the result of conscious choices and preparation.
What distinguishes an “elder” from someone who is “older”?
- How can I transform fear of aging into anticipation of the rich possibilities of the elder third of my life?
- What does it mean to become an elder at this time of profound cultural transition?
- How can the elder third of my life be the pinnacle of my emotional and spiritual development?
- How am I called to be of service to the human and earth community as I age?
- What inner work do I need to do to age consciously and prepare to fully claim and embody my elderhood?
We as elders know that it is our collective responsibility to do better, to bring more awareness and consciousness to protecting the greater community and its future generations. We know we must act. To become empowered to execute this responsibility, we are uniting to initiate a movement with a common purpose, to collaborate with others and to act accordingly with a common voice.
As conscious elders, we know that we are part of the problem; and we now choose to be part of the solution. Knowing that we must be the change we wish to see in the world, we offer ourselves with humility and passion, in whole-hearted service, by defining, developing and delivering our unique gifts.
It is in the natural world that we can most easily remember that which is authentic and natural in ourselves, and thus gain an eagle’s eye view of our place and potential in the larger web of life. Arcadia Village is being formed as an elder care health co-operative to be established on a working organic farm and to respect nature as the foundation of our existence.
We wish to shift the emphasis from “medical” intervention by professionals to preventative “health and wellness” and that each of us acts to achieve optimum wellness for our own long-term health. Health co-ops provide community leadership in achieving the basics of good “preventative” health care.
There is a big difference between simply becoming old and aging consciously–aging with intent. We wish to work inter-generationally and encourage social, economic, and environmental stewardship with sound governance. We bring our multiple talents and resources, offering these in service to the goal of preserving and protecting life.
Co-workers (care-givers) will live on the property with and for the older person. Senior members can volunteer into the farming activities (greenhouse, gardens, animal care, beekeeping) craftmanship activities (wood and metal shop, a weavery, pottery, candle making) and fine arts (painting, drawing and scupting).
These activities, conducted together in a fun, cooperative spirit, and often in an intergenerational setting with younger co-workers, are both nurturing to the creative faculties of our elders, and valuable gifts that can be exchanged with the larger community to offset operating costs.
Experience from another community that has been using this approach successfully for 45 years is that elder members experience more meaning and purpose to their lives, while costing 50% less than comparable facilities.