Concord-Carlisle Community Chest and Elder Services: It takes a village to help a senior stay home

Oct. 15, 2015 | CONCORD

By Liz Harvey

This article is one in a series about the organizations supported by the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest.

Looking forward we know that an aging population in our towns, challenging economic times for many and amplified stresses in our world will increase the demand for elder services. A look at our nation’s demographics reveals that the older cohort numbers will keep climbing until the year 2030 and will hold steady at these very high levels until 2050.

We also know that within Concord and Carlisle lies an array of non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the needs of our aging population. These organizations are providing seniors with opportunities that enhance their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs.

Currently in Carlisle 20 percent of the total population is comprised of seniors. The Carlisle Council on Aging serves this community in a number of ways: information referrals, transportation to appointments, medical equipment, educational and exercise programs and respite care. The Carlisle COA also offers monthly lunches, book groups, exercise classes and a multitude of opportunities for seniors to come together as a community.

Importantly, the Carlisle COA also facilitates connections between its senior population and the broader community either by asking its residents to look out for an elderly neighbor or to serve as a volunteer at the COA. As Angela Smith, outreach and program manager says, “It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to help a senior stay in their home safely.” A drive to a doctor’s appointment, shoveling a mailbox out after a storm, picking up a prescription or delivering a hot dinner through the Meals on Wheels program; each action can have such a significant impact on the life of a neighbor.

“Concord is a lovely town in which to grow old. There is so much support here.”

The Concord Council on Aging is also dedicated to improving the quality of life of seniors. Bonny Wilbur, program supervisor for the Concord COA says “Concord is a lovely town in which to grow old. There is so much support here.” The Concord COA offers a welcoming and friendly atmosphere at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center with a range of programs to include speakers, trips, social events and classes. Social workers are available to reach out to seniors in need with home visits, offering support to those with health, housing or financial needs. The Concord COA also involves the community in achieving its mission by engaging over 100 volunteers to help run an art gallery, provide yard work, offer computer tutorials, cell phone assistance, income tax assistance and general office support.

David Klein, executive director of Carlisle COA says, “Life comes full circle in that early on we are dependent on others and as we continue to live to older and older ages we often become once again dependent on others. In the elder services sphere a lot of resources go into helping those 85 and up. However, as it becomes more and more common to see people at these ages or even older we need to continue to develop ways to not only offer support, but to help folks retain as much of their independence as possible.”

The following is a list of the other non-profits supported by the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest that serve our senior population. Please visit the Community Chest website at for more information about each organization and how you can connect with them.

Concord Housing Authority

Cooperative Elder Services

Minuteman Senior Services.

Liz Harvey has lived in Concord for more than 16 years. She was formerly on the board of the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest and now serves as the organization’s associate director.