The Beacon Hill Movement is sweeping across the country. It began 10 years ago in Boston. Seniors assist each other and received subsidized services to remain independent in their homes for longer periods of time. There are 50 such programs in the US at this time with 600 more under development.

Buffalo’s very own product of the movement has opened its doors recently under the name “Canopy of Neighbors”. Their mission is, “To give our subscribers practical means and confidence to remain in their own homes as they grow older, and to link them with resources to help them age in place.”

This “Beacon Hill” concept’s fundamental value is that seniors will be happier and healthier as they age if they are allowed to remain in their homes with supportive services. The program also allows people to not only maintain, but also add to their social networks. In addition, the social fabric of the neighborhood benefits through important social, political, and cultural contributions as seniors in the program are also recruited as caregivers and volunteers in the wider community.

Canopy of Neighbors’ array of services include transportation, home maintenance, group dining, personal care services and shopping assistants. These are either free or discounted. It officially opened its doors in late February and at that time had 28 subscribers. There are also 50 volunteers and 40 vendors involved.

Subscribers can be as young as 62 years of age. The service area is bounded by Main Street, Richmond Avenue, North Street, and Delaware Park. The cost per year is $400 for a single person household and $600 for a two-person household. A similar program called “Flint Hill“ is now also being organized in the Parkside area; it’s likely that we will see this concept replicated throughout our community.

Canopy staff also told me that it’s important to note that “the program is suitable for those in good health as well as those who have greater needs.” Many of those who have are immediately finding tremendous convenience as well as substantial discounts. Funding for the program has been provided from a grant by the Community Health Foundation of WNY.

For additional information, please visit CanopyofNeighbors.org or call 716 332-6143.