A bi-monthly roadmap for navigating longevity
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

One thing constant about The Village Chicago: we’re always innovating, always building community.
Portrait of Dianne Campbell, (Mark Brown Photography, 2017)
We are delighted to debut our new bi-monthly publication, which will focus primarily on one subject per issue, going in-depth on a topic that is relevant to Village members and our community. We are calling it The Navigator because we hope it will be another way in which the Village supports the growth and well-being of people over 50 and helps them navigate the new longevity. It’s a perfect pairing to the Member Memo newsletter that members receive every Wednesday with items about Village news, events and referrals to people, places and things that are useful and of interest. Let us know what you think!

This issue focuses on Services + Expertise, one of our village’s five main offerings ( see them all here) and the challenges we each face in asking for help. Bottom line: get over it and ask — interdependence!
This is an especially busy time at the Village with the start-up of new programs, services and committees and as we gear up for 2019 — the Village’s 10th anniversary year — and new leadership.

In August I announced that, after 10+ years, I will be retiring as Founding Executive Director in the new year ( see letters here from me and Board President Kathie Kolodgy). It’s been a great honor and privilege to work with so many of you to start our Village. I’m savoring every moment of my last months as director and I look forward to the Village’s next chapter and to mine.
An executive director search committee, led by Village board member Bob Spoerri, is at work and has selected the search firm DeVine Consulting to assist. A position announcement is in the works and will be circulated soon.
Join us this fall for an exciting line up of programs designed to inform, delight, and weave community. Meet Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs, and others harnessing virtual reality for good at the next in our longevity series on November 7— see our current calendar here. Full speed ahead!
With kindest regards,

Dianne S. Campbell
Founding Executive Director

Image courtesy of Mark Brown Photography, 2017
Why Is Asking for Help So Hard?
Because our culture relentlessly teaches us not to. It’s the American story. We’re the ones who started with nothing, settled the West, built great cities using our bootstraps, independence, grit, and self-reliance. Recent research confirms the popularity of these values. A study entitled Measuring Mainstream US Cultural Values describes them this way:

  1. Freedom of speech and other forms of personal freedom
  2. Self-direction—independent thought and action; choosing
  3. The right to be an individual and act one's own's behalf
While the ability to live by these values is admirable, they have contributed to some widespread misconceptions about well-being.  Research from the FrameWorks Institute discovered what the public actually believes about well-being:

  1. The public believes that each individual is primarily or solely responsible for his or her own well-being.
  2. They believe that well-being means two things only: having enough money and being healthy. That’s it.

These attitudes conspire to make us feel that seeking and receiving support from others is a weakness – but it isn’t. It’s a strength because it can support all aspects of well-being. In addition to good health and financial security – well-being also includes resilience, self-acceptance, optimism, purpose, engagement and connection – all of which are amplified and enriched by access to resources, relationships, and knowing someone is there for you.  

In this issue of The Navigator, we will explore how we think about our own well-being and ways to expand our mind-set to include self-reliance and self-acceptance; strength and resilience… and more. 

Throughout our longevity, opportunities to enhance well-being will come and go; will change – and change again - but it is not a solo act. The Village exists to support well-being, with services and expertise to equip it and enrich it at all ages and all stages of later life.
What “Services and Expertise” Means
With backgrounds in social work, Sarah Brunner and Niki Fox lead all aspects of Village services with the support of the office team and Village volunteers. Sarah says, “We all count on people to help us through our day, and we hope the Village is on the list of resources members turn to for that help.” 

This Village has ten years worth of requests and learning behind the services and expertise offered. The range of requests is wide and can be for helping hand assistance, like yard work. Or it can be for a referral to a caregiver, an ally to accompany you to doctor appointments, or help with navigating a life transition. Or it might be for tech help, downsizing, getting a book published or some other expertise.
Sarah Brunner
Niki Fox
How It Works

There are over 500 service and expertise providers available to members. They were vetted through a network of Village members, sponsors, strategic partners and community resource, and are connected to the members who need them by an office team of innovative and knowledgeable problem solvers.  

The team treats each service request as unique, with a process that includes a conversation about what is needed; legwork, research or brainstorm to find the right resource; and follow-up to make sure the need has been met satisfactorily.
All Ages, All Stages
The Village membership includes people in all stages of later life. Some are at the height of their careers; some are seeking a “what’s next,” while others may be caregivers; or experiencing health issues; or just living life and all it can bring: leaky faucets, new grandchildren, moving, traveling.

Here are some stories from Village members showing how asking (or not asking!) for help affected them.
Call: That’s Why They’re There

“Recently I had the experience of seeing how impactful the Village community and support staff can be,” recalls Barbara Susin. A while back, Barbara had introduced one of her neighbors (we’ll call her Margaret) to the Village and she become a member. 

A few months ago, Margaret called to tell Barbara that she was in the hospital and not doing well. Barbara asked her if she had called the Village and she had not. Margaret said “I don’t want to bother them.” But knowing that her friend needed help, Barbara persevered and called the Village.

A member of the office team connected with Margaret in rehab and helped her understand all the ways the Village could be supportive, and made arrangements for volunteer support through her recovery. Even though she was reluctant to ask for help, the community and the office team had her back, providing caring, trusted resources to see her through this rough patch.
How Village Services Support Tom’s Well-Being

The Eley family are multi-generational Village members. Salli Eley was one of the first members of the Village and in fact, was the first person to call the office with a service request when the Village opened in June, 2009. Her son Tom is also a Village member and is currently serving on the Village board of directors.

Salli has availed herself of Village services over the years - and now Tom is involved in her care and well-being. Recently, he called the office to get some help figuring out the best resource for a caregiver for his mother, exploring the pros and cons of using a service vs being referred to an individual caregiver – a question now successfully resolved.

Salli enjoys the Village Memoir Writing group and was a founding member of the original (now one of three). Among other things, she enjoys bringing family and friends to the Village’s annual anniversary benefit. Tom says, “Knowing that there are vetted resources and people paying attention is important and valuable to our whole family.”
Village Members Tom Eley and Salli Eley
“I Didn’t Ask But I Wish I Had”

A Village member recently underwent major surgery. When she was transferred to the rehab facility to recover, the orders for painkillers and sleeping aids were not transferred with her.  Her first day there (which was only a day or so after surgery) she requested pain medication and was given Tylenol which was ineffective. When she asked for something else, she was told “It wasn’t ordered.” She asked repeatedly, and was told repeatedly “It wasn’t ordered.” The result was that until she was strong enough to straighten it out, she spent one full week not getting enough sleep and in pain.
She now says of this experience, “I should have called the Village before the surgery to make sure there was someone to act on my behalf.” If she had, the Village would have helped her work through what her needs would be in the hospital, in rehab and after her return home. 
How Expertise Restored Diana’s Peace of Mind

Imagine thinking that you had lost everything stored on your computer! That happened recently to Village member Diana Phillips. Diana is a photographer and feared she had lost her entire body of work. Phone calls between Diana and Apple were frustrating and unhelpful. After enduring two weeks of uncertainty and fear, it was recommended that she call Village service provider Kelley Boylan. After only thirty minutes of Kelley’s skillful attention, the problem was solved. Diana says, “If I had thought to reach out to the Village first, I would have saved myself many hours of frustration and exhaustion, physically and mentally.”
Village member, Diana Phillips
Post-Op Journey Home  
by Mary Kaye
He didn’t know that chicken soup and ice cream were part of the Village’s ally program.* But after Bernie Holicky’s cochlear implant surgery, Village ally volunteer and retired nurse Chris Hackney appeared in the hospital recovery room to go over his post-op instructions and take him home. No, not to Bernie’s home, but to Chris’s for soup and ice cream. Then, after depositing him at his own front door, she followed up with a next-day check. There’s more: they brunched together in the neighborhood after a couple of day’s recovery, “just to make sure” and because now they were friends.

Bernie became aware of the ally program when he knew the University of Chicago hospital would only release him with a driver known to him. His planned ride developed a conflict with the timing of Bernie’s operation. “I had relatives, although in another state. But better than that,” Bernie said, “I had the Village.” The ally program paired him up with Chris when staff learned that Bernie “could use a ride home after the operation.” 

Bernie didn’t know about the ally Program when he first asked for his ride. The Village was just inaugurating the program. Now that he has experienced it, he sings its praises. “It’s a great and necessary program,” Bernie says. “Chris was wonderful and very supportive.” Bernie participates in Village social programs: “Six at a Table,” open houses, the men’s discussion group, and lectures, but now the Ally program is tops on his list.  

* Allies are Village volunteers who support members by helping them think through what they want to get out of their healthcare interactions. This can include guiding them to the information they need to make informed and confident healthcare decisions; facilitating awareness of relevant Village resources and support services, and note-taking at healthcare interactions.
Bernie Holicky’s cochlear implant
Bernie Holickey at a Village program
The Ask – How to Ask for Help
Last month the New York Times published an article, How to Ask For Help and Actually Get It. The author makes some interesting points:

1. Much of the anxiety about asking for help is in our heads. A 2008 study from Cornell found that subjects “underestimated by as much as 50% the likelihood that others would agree to a direct request for help.”

(If you are contemplating calling the Village for help you can raise that to 100% - no one there will say “Sorry, can’t help you.”)

2. If people who can help you don’t know you need assistance, it can sometimes impact your ability to perceive that you need help – all the more reason to get comfortable with asking.

3. The ability to ask for help is a learnable skill. Everyone has to find his or her own way, but here are a couple of ideas:

- Instead of saying “I need …..” try saying “I want...” It’s empowering!

- Or try saying, “I could use a….”
The Ask –  What to Ask For

Most of the time, what is needed or wanted is pretty clear: a ride, a referral to a physical therapist, an ally, a painter. Even if it’s something the Village doesn’t have in its database, there are deep resources who can help - for example, locating a specialist through the Village’s strategic partner, Rush Medical Center.

And there are times when people ask for one thing when they actually need something else - but careful attention and discussion can figure it out. A member was having some remodeling work done and felt completely overwhelmed by that and other events going on in her life at the time. She called the Village seeking a contractor and ended up with a step-by-step plan for how to get through all she had to do – no longer overwhelmed, back in control.
“I Didn’t Know the Village Did That”

The different kinds of services and expertise the Village has provided to members over the past ten years would fill page after page. But it’s not necessary to have a list of everything the Village has provided – because if it is something new, those dedicated problem-solvers on the office team will figure it out. It is through people asking that the Village has acquired he resources it now has – resources that will continue to increase as long as there are members who need them.
This issue of The Navigator has been edited by Laurel Baer and produced by Megan Byrd
Village News
Virtual Reality Meets Health and Well-Being: What’s Possible?

The Village Chicago presents the second in its Longevity Series – an exploration of the ways immersion technology is being pioneered in Chicago and how it is changing the way we live, learn, and care.

Panelists include Neelum T. Aggarwal, M.D.; Carrie Shaw, CEO, Embodied Labs; and Emily Phelps, a medical student at Rush University Medical School.

Join us on Wednesday, November 7 at the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), 111 E. Wacker Drive. Reception from 5:00-5:45PM; program and Q&A from 5:45-7:15. The Village Chicago members $10; guests $15; students, $5. For more information and reservations, call the Village office at 773.248.8700.
“We want to know what you think.”

That’s how Village members were invited to participate in a member satisfaction survey, now underway. The Village’s mission is “… to enhance the quality of life and the well-being of individuals as we live longer...” and a survey is conducted every three years to assess how well the mission is being accomplished. The survey evaluates how well the Village is meeting member needs and interest and if their growth, well-being, connection to others and to the community are supported.

Each journey through later life is different and the learning taken from this survey will be shared with members and is considered essential in the shaping of Village services and programs.
Welcome New Village Interns!

Three times each year, The Village is fortunate to have two MSW students from Loyola University Chicago as interns. We are pleased to introduce you to our newest:
Olivia Myers
Olivia is a second year, part-time MSW student at Loyola University Chicago. She was born in Boston, attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and moved to Chicago five years ago. During that time, she worked at various non-profit organizations, including a CILA where she lived with adults with intellectual disabilities, a women's housing center, and a special education classroom. Olivia's favorite part of her work is building meaningful relationships with members and coworkers.
Ben Kernan
Ben is a first year MSW student at Loyola University Chicago. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ben obtained his bachelor's degree at The George Washington University. Ben has experience working with the LGBT community, and plans to continue to work with this population in the future.
Announcing Our Newest Village Sponsor, Artis Senior Living of Lakeview!
Artis Senior Living is founded on a positive partnership between your loved one and their team. In their community, they value the individual by treasuring their uniqueness. At Artis Senior Living of Lakeview, assisted living and memory care services with private apartments are offered and a tailored plan of care that suits each resident’s unique needs. They work with you and your loved one to provide compassionate, individualized care that promotes positive growth and possibility. Their charming, neighborhood-like community is located at 3535 N. Ashland Ave in Lakeview.

Charles Schwab Presents: Trust & Estate Planning
When you are planning your financial future, it's easier when you have help from the experts. Bring your own questions for advisors from Village sponsor Charles Schwab on Thursday, October 18, from 6:30 - 8:00 PM, at their Lincoln Park branch (820 W. North Ave.).

This seminar will cover basic concepts of estate planning including how to get organized and what documents to have, the mechanics of how assets pass from one generation to the next, and how certain documents impact a plan. You’ll also learn about tax consequences associated with estate plans and how charitable intent comes into play. Also covered: how to include your family and even conduct family meetings. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Village members may attend for free, and guests can join for $10. To register or for more information, please call the Village office at 773.248.8700.
Mark Your Calendar! Village Programs
This fall, there is an eclectic variety of programs from which to choose, including a four-part series honoring LGBT History Month; a new Current Affairs Discussion Group (in addition to our ongoing Men's & Women's Discussion Group); and a docent-led tour of the Intuit Gallery- and more.

To view the full calendar of upcoming programs, click here.
Village Member Pastime Groups
Join the Village!
Are you...

About to retire, wondering what's next? Seeking companions that share your interests? Searching for a way to utilize your abilities? In need of occasional help? New to Chicago? Worried about changing needs? An adult child with aging parents?

Village members are part of an inclusive, intergenerational community, connected to others and to the resources that support growth and well-being as we navigating longevity together.

Want to learn more? Call us at 773.248.8700 or click here to download the membership application form.
Village Sponsors
Leadership of The Village Chicago
Board of Directors

Kathleen Kologdy,
Mary Ann Schwartz,
Vice President
Nancy Felton-Elkins,
Vice President
Alan T. Lougée,
Vice President 
Joan Goldstein,
Karen Terry,
Richard W. Sullivan,
Ruth Ann Watkins,
Immediate Past President
Donald M. Bell
Judy Carmack Bross
Patricia Clickener
Charles G. Cooper
John Craib-Cox
Thomas C. Eley III
Hollis Hines
John Kingsley Holton, Ph.D.
Bruce Hunt
Beth Burn Joosten
Ira Kohlman
Leatrice Berman Sandler
John M. Simonds
Bob Spoerri
Melville Washburn
Advisory Council
Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD
Robyn L. Golden, LCSW
Joanne G. Schwartzberg, MD
Mary Ann Smith
Michael Spock
Founding Executive Director
Dianne S. Campbell
The “new longevity” means that later life can span 30 years or more. Whether we’re working, retired or farther along on our journey, we all seek well-being, to be valued and to contribute. The Village Chicago is an inclusive membership community of people 50+ that provides services, expertise, social connection, engagement, volunteer opportunities and  health/well-being resources -  all to support members’ growth and quality of life, keeping us connected to each other, our communities and the city as we navigate longevity together.