Brookline Community Aging Network


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Brookline Community Aging Network?

Brookline sky - Photo by John Seay
Put simply, BrooklineCAN is the answer to how to make Brookline a better place to grow old.

BrooklineCAN is a town-wide initiative focused on maintaining a high quality of life for older residents in Brookline through excellence in education, programs, and services. It is a collaboration among residents of all ages, the Council on Aging, businesses, town departments, and nonprofits to 1) increase opportunities for seniors to engage in the town’s social, cultural, and civic life; and 2) build supports that enable independent living.

From retail discounts to a referral program for vetted household service providers to Envision Your Future educational programs to volunteer and job connections, BrooklineCAN works with and for you to enhance the experience of growing older in Brookline.

Q: Why Should I Join BrooklineCAN?

If you want to help your neighbors, help yourself, and help your town, then you should join BrooklineCAN. It’s all about making Brookline an even better place to live for everyone. Joining BrooklineCAN gives you access to information-sharing to find the best plumbers, electricians, handymen, and more; discounts at local businesses and restaurants; services for those over 60 (such as shopping, cooking, driving, dog-walking); regular updates on key services, classes, and performances; educational forums on how to make living at home easier and safer; and volunteer work

Q: How is BrooklineCAN different from the Council on Aging, which offers extensive programming and supports for elderly residents? What does BrooklineCAN add to the mix?

We are living longer, and now there are multiple generations that comprise the older population. As baby boomers reach retirement age, we need to reconfigure and expand our services to older people. This is where BrooklineCAN comes in. BrooklineCAN celebrates and capitalizes on the strengths of our exemplary Council on Aging and adds new resources and opportunities into the mix that appeal to a broad(er) range of Brookline residents. BrooklineCAN is a project sponsored and supported by the Council.

Q: Who is eligible to join BrooklineCAN?

Anyone can join BrooklineCAN. Individual members are asked to make an annual donation of $25 per person to help pay for administrative expenses. We ask organizations to contribute with donations, sponsorships, and in-kind services. We encourage membership of all ages.

BrooklineCAN encourages the participation of individuals and organizations in fulfilling our mission. We offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities to contribute talents and tap into interests that help maintain and grow the organization.

Q: How is BrooklineCAN funded? Who runs BrooklineCAN?

BrooklineCAN has no paid staff and does not receive any public funds. BrooklineCAN operates under the auspices of the Council on Aging which is contributing in-kind human and administrative resources. The non- profit (501 3 C) arm of the Council – Brookline Senior Center – is the fiduciary agent for funding. All donations are tax deductible.

Our most valuable commodity is YOU! We will only be able to grow and provide services with volunteer efforts.

A steering committee of residents and organizational representatives is co-chaired by Frank Caro, a resident of Brookline and former chair of the UMass Boston Gerontology Program, and Ruthann Dobek, executive director of the Brookline Senior Center.

Q. What makes BrooklineCAN unique? How is it different from the Village Model – i.e. organizations like Beacon Hill Village?

The “village” movement is beneficial to older residents in many of the communities where they have been established. Many charge hundreds of dollars to belong. We have an opportunity to create a “village” with a unique Brookline twist.

A principle objective of BrooklineCAN is to be as inclusive and as diverse as possible in its membership. Only a small annual donation is required for membership.We want to reach out and involve as many of the 10,000 older adults in Brookline as we can. We capitalize on the strengths of the Brookline Senior Center and the wealth of local resources (e.g,. transportation, educational and cultural riches, and proximity to medical complexes).

We will connect our members with services and programs that enable them to remain independent and those providers will charge a fee for services.