Lamorinda Village Helps Local Seniors Live in Their Homes

(Kathryn Ishizu, Photographer)
Members of the non-profit group, Lamorinda Village, learning fire safety techniques at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, at a 2022 presentation hosted by Orinda Boy Scout Ben Bocabella, as part of his eagle project to provide help for seniors in emergencies.

    When I was a kid, the thought of growing up was both exhilarating and terrifying. Although I treasured playing dress-up and hosting lemonade stands, I was afraid of losing the joy and playfulness of childhood.
    Adults are afraid too. Of growing old. Of not being self-sufficient. Of having to move out of their home with its countless memories. Lamorinda Village, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, helps people manage and overcome these fears.
    Lamorinda Village is composed of residents 55 years or older from Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. By offering services such as social activities and home assistance, it strives to enable their members to remain in their homes as they age.
    Founded in 2013, the organization had more than 100 paying members by 2017. Its growth skyrocketed in 2020 when COVID hit, as seniors stayed inside. Essential tasks like grocery shopping became dangerous for elders.
    Many Orindans joined the organization and they received food security and a supportive community during a particularly difficult time. After the pandemic, many seniors continued with Lamorinda Village which now has 275 members.
    There are several ways Lamorinda Village works to support its members. It offers opportunities to combat loneliness and isolation, one of the fastest growing issues in the senior population, by expanding members’ social networks.
    Through meditation classes, chair yoga, happy hours and coffee talks, members can enjoy each other’s company and create strong connections. Hosted events include Village Conversations, book clubs, movie matinees and sing-a-longs. Members may receive at-home visits and calls from friendly volunteers available to talk and check in.
    Kathy Merchant, a longstanding member, said, “LamorindaVillage has expanded beyond home repairs, chauffeuring and tech help to offer a dynamic menu of learning programs and speakers, as well as social activities. I think of this history like the evolution from a cocoon … as incubation of the concept… to butterfly. The Village has indeed taken wing. It’s been a joy to watch and to meet interesting people from all three communities.”
    In addition to social support, Lamorinda Village offers assistance with home tasks. Whether replacing an out-of-reach light bulb, helping with tech support, doing yard work, or providing transportation to appointments, errands and Lamorinda Village events, volunteers answer the call.
    Sharon Iversen, president of Lamorinda Village, said, “[Without us], older people would not have the choices they do. They certainly wouldn’t have the connections. I don’t think people would be quite as happy.”
    The organization is funded by membership fees, grants and donations and relies heavily on volunteers. Individuals pay $33 per month or $360 annually. Households with two or more pay $52 monthly or $600 per year.
    “We always need volunteers of all ages… It’s lovely to know there are people out there willing to lend a hand,” Iversen said.
    The non-profit received a large donation from the city of Lafayette to support their low-income seniors. The organization is looking to partner with local businesses to grow their outreach and receive more help from the Orinda community.
    Visit to make a donation and sign up to volunteer.

Nicole Lamison can be reached at

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