Aging in Place

In 2010, Stedwick resident Sam Korper approached MVF about starting a dialogue about the concept of “Aging in Place.” It turns out there are initiatives all over the country to improve the livability of all ages in the community. Sam started the conversation via the Village News with the potential for other workshops or forums or maybe just a coffee group to be formed to discuss this topic in Montgomery Village.

Sam Korper is a retired federal employee who has a professional and personal interest in the topic of aging. He currently serves on the Montgomery County Commission on Health and is a liaison to the Commission on Aging. For questions or comments on “Aging in Place,” e-mail

An elder-friendly Village?

Reflections on aging in Montgomery Village: Opening a conversation on challenges and opportunities.

by Sam Korper

I have just returned from my walk through parts of the Village, a daily opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of earth and sky, greet passing walkers and their pets, and think about “stuff.”

Ever since retirement some five years ago, after nearly forty years of federal service— the last 25 at NIH—I have had more time to devote to a variety of volunteer activities, much of which builds upon my training as an epidemiologist and my career in aging research (over twenty years as associate director of the National Institute on Aging, NIH).   Now serving as a commissioner on the Montgomery County Commission on Health and as liaison to the Commission on Aging, I have been able to extend my career interests to direct local involvement in aging-related matters.

Thus it is probably inevitable that my musings include consideration of Montgomery Village as a retirement “place,” one in which to ... well ... age in place. Undoubtedly, maintaining family ties, health status and resources, the state of the economy, housing, transportation and safety are equally on many minds, but I also suspect that advancing years have lent a special emphasis—if not urgency—to these concerns. My walk-about conversations often touch on these subjects.

Following up on his brief note concerning MVF interest in assisting older residents to remain in their homes in the Aug. 28 Montgomery Village News, EVP Dave Humpton, (along with Board President Bob Hydorn and several MVF staff) has encouraged me to assist in an exploration of   “Aging in Place,” provide some general background on the concept, report on the several evolving initiatives elsewhere in Montgomery County, and what this might mean for the Village. In this series of articles, I plan to touch on a variety of subjects related to experience gained elsewhere, important services and supportive policies that would assist residents to retain independence and to remain in their homes, and thus combine both professional and personal interests.   

Future articles will look at such issues as definitions of “healthy aging,” models of the aging in place approach, and topics such as demographic trends, accessible housing issues, emergency services, and older drivers—to name a few. We will be able to amplify the column by utilizing the MVF web site to provide more detail on the issues discussed as well as provide links to additional information. I intend to fill in some background, describe what is happening elsewhere, and report on what has been learned, both pro and con. The articles will include ways that you can contact me to ask questions, suggest future issues and provide general comments. With MVF encouragement and your interest, we can make this a true dialogue.

Let me end by saying that while I have followed the evolution of “Aging in Place” for several years, I do not have a position on next steps or whether there is an appropriate off-the-shelf adaptation or “solution” for the Village, nor, I suspect, does the MVF. Perhaps together we can determine an approach—formal or informal—that best suits our vision and needs for the future.