Grant and Gill
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 77)
during recent years. “The past pales in
comparison to what I am doing now,”
he says. “I feel reborn, in a sense.”
Like her husband, Grant is less inter-
ested in ramping up her career than in
spending time with friends and watch-
ing the children as they launch their
lives. Only Sarah and Corrina live at
home now, and Grant knows that soon
the spacious house will no longer be
their anchor. That’s one reason she’s
glad Gill turned his study into a record-
ing studio several years ago. “It’s given
this big old house great purpose for
the years to come,” she says, showing
off the studio’s massive soundboard.
“We’ll still be putting on coffee and
setting up drums and having the house
rattle on its foundation.”
Back in the den, she settles into a
high-back chair and insists that this is
her favorite stretch of life. Gill agrees,
but with a wisecrack: “I’m old enough
now that I look extinguished.”
Life isn’t perfect, of course. Grant
admits to a recent oh-no-I’m-getting-
old! meltdown in the bathtub. “Having
that baby at 40 really shot my stomach,
and I was just having a good cry about
it,” she says. “Vince came in, and I was
drooling and snot was coming out, and
I said, ‘Women get invisible.’ And he
said, ‘I love you, and you’re more beau-
tiful now than you were when I first
met you. I can’t wait to see what you
look like with a head full of gray hair.’
And he meant it.”
“As far as she knows!” he pipes up.
They share a laugh. Then Gill springs
to his feet to head for an appointment.
A quick kiss and he’s out the door with
a promise to return soon.
The early-afternoon sun filters
through the window and lights the side
of Grant’s face—chiseled, yet soft. It’s
unlikely, but what if Gill didn’t come
back? How would she cope if, for some
reason, he fell off the planet?
“Oh, my goodness,” Grant responds,
as if the idea never occurred to her. Her
brown eyes widen and fill. “I would
miss him every day.” ;
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 63)
appointments and day-to-day logistics
like errands. Members also get discounts on Keystone’s health services.
Because the village and the hospital
system are aligned, says Looby, “the
boundaries are flexible. You care for
people when they come to the hospital,
and you are in a position to coordinate
their care when they leave.” Keystone
hopes this integration will lead to fewer ER visits and hospital readmissions.
How long can a village keep you
safe at home? It depends. But Candace
Baldwin, of VtV, says the the trust factor between members and the village
can help family members and caregiv-ers make choices and find services.
Michal Brown lives about 30 miles
outside Chicago, where her 89-year-
old mother, Mary Haughey, has lived
in a Lincoln Park apartment for more
than 20 years. She worries about her
mom, who has symptoms of dementia.
Brown saw a flyer about Lincoln Park
Village in a pharmacy and immediately
signed her mother up. Through the
village, Brown enrolled her mom in tai
chi classes and asked a village member
to accompany her as a buddy.
Just before Christmas, Haughey
became dizzy at her tai chi class. With
her buddy’s help, she made it to the
hospital, where doctors discovered a
blood clot in her lung. Without the village, Brown is convinced, her mother
might not have survived.
Through the village, Brown has also
learned about counseling services at a
local hospital to help plan her mother’s
next steps. “We can add services bit by
bit, whether it’s medication management or home health care. The village
Want to organize a village of
your own? The Village to Village
(VtV) Network offers information
on helping villages get started.
Membership benefits include tools
and resources developed by other
villages, a peer-to-peer mentoring
program, and monthly webinars and
discussion forums. Call 617-299-9638
or e-mail via the VtV website (
vtvnet-work.org) for more info.
•To find out if a village exists in your
region, check the VtV website; it has
a searchable online map of all U. S.
villages now open or in development.
•The creators of Boston’s Beacon
Hill Village (617-723-9713; beacon
hillvillage.org) have written a book
on starting a village: The Village
Concept: A Founders’ Manual is a
how-to guide that provides tips on
fund-raising, marketing, and organizational strategies.
•Existing resources can make your
neighborhood more “villagelike,” says
Candace Baldwin, codirector of the
VtV Network. The best place to start
is your local agency on aging. The U. S.
Department of Health and Human
Services offers a searchable index of
these services (800-677-1116; www
. eldercare.gov). —M. T.
knows how to get those services.”
Nobody knows what Mary Haughey’s
future holds, but the village has given
her options. And it has given her
daughter hope that she can delay mov-
ing her mother to a nursing home. For
now, it helps knowing that her mother
is safe, and still in her own apartment,
in her own neighborhood. ;
Martha Thomas is a Baltimore-based