Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Jennifer Quiñones Nottingham


elder village, sustainability, aging in place, accessibility, environmental gerontology


An aging-in-place movement that is growing in popularity is the Villages. The Elder Village or the Village as they are often referred to are membership-driven, grass-roots organizations that through both volunteers and paid staff, coordinate access to affordable services which could include transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities, and other daily needs to enable participants to remain in their home communities throughout the aging process. Services and programs help to counter isolation, hospital stays, and re-hospitalization. While there appears to be widespread enthusiasm for it, there are growing questions that are being posed about the types and ranges of its services, alongside their availability and accessibility. And since to be successful, community-based Village organizations need to attain an established level of elder participation, a concerning problem area is how to engage enough elder participation to sustain long term a community-based aging-in-place program. If sustainability is not achieved in a Village, it becomes unfeasible to deliver its services within an aging-in-place-environment. This might precipitate ill-suited, unnecessary, and ill-timed movements into private or public institutions at both societal and personal costs. If those most in need are not accessing the services of the Village, similar results may unfold with societal cost increases. Those needs will be provided by other public services already overburdened by the growing elderly population.

This applied dissertation is a qualitative case study which addressed this problem within its exploration of the influences that affect the sustainability of a Village. Through a series of interviews with both members and non-members of a selected Village near a metropolitan area, and its governance officers, the complexities of this initiative were highlighted, thus contributing to increased understanding of the influencing factors. It also shared useful information about how adequate funding could be secured as well as what strategies might be used to increase Village membership. It therefore has applicability to other existing or emerging Villages across the nation.

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