the foreign Service journal
olores Boyer worked in the For-
eign Service for 32 years, com-
pleting four overseas tours with
the U.S. Agency for International
Development and four with the
U.S. Information Agency. She
lived in Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia,
Kenya, Thailand, Ghana and Sri
Lanka. By the time she retired in
1997, she states, “I said to myself, ‘I’m not moving one more
time.’” In the 19 years since then, Boyer proclaims with pride,
“I haven’t filled out a single change-of-address form.”
Job appointments with the Foreign Service “were like put-
ting your hand in the cookie jar and not knowing what cookie
you were going to get,” Boyer says. She loved learning about
new countries and cultures. She liked the social interactions
and the sometimes radical beauty of the settings—from the
architecture of Prague to the colorful markets in Ghana.
Now Boyer, 80, lives in an apartment in Arlington, Virginia,
and keeps up with local art exhibits and theater, continues to
travel and enjoys entertaining houseguests.
Recently, she joined the Arlington Village, an
organization of like-minded seniors with about 150 members.
The Village helps its members with transportation to medical
appointments and other tasks—from changing a light bulb to
picking up groceries or setting up an email account—that can
become more difficult with age.
“The Village came along at just the right time for me,” says
Boyer. She sees it as an “insurance policy” to thwart the need
to make what is often an older person’s final move—into an
assisted living or continuing care facility.
The Arlington Village, which started in 2013, is one of close
to 200 organizations nationwide (with about the same number
now in formation). While the Villages can vary dramatically in
structure, cost and membership, most share a common goal:
to support older adults who wish to age in place.
Service and Social Connections “In Place”
It isn’t just the dream of never moving again that makes the
Village concept tailor-made for those who have spent their
careers living abroad. Most Villages host book clubs and guest
speakers, potluck suppers and field trips. Boyer enjoys Arling-
ton Village’s Dining Around program at local restaurants and
gatherings for Met Opera Live performances.
“Those of us in the Foreign Service are used to new experi-
ences. We like to have teas and invite people for dinner,” points
out FS retiree Marguerite Cooper, a volunteer for the Pasadena
Village in southern California. “It’s a good fit.” Cooper, who
A growing trend helps Foreign Service retirees to finally settle down.
By Martha Thomas
MarthaThomas, a freelance writer and editor who
lives in Baltimore, Maryland, has written about the
Village concept for
It Takes a
On Life after the foreign service