Brookline Community Aging Network


About Us


BrooklineCAN's roots date back to a collaborative effort between the town's Council on Aging and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) during 2007-2010. The demonstration project – Aging Well at Home – focused on a neighborhood in North Brookline and tested a model approach to supporting older residents’ desire to continue living in their homes. Funded in part by the Weinberg Foundation, the program offered help with household tasks, fostered connections among residents, and provided education programs.

In 2010, JF&CS joined a gathering at the home of Frank and Carol Caro in Brookline’s Crowinshield Road area to discuss the creation of a neighborhood support system that would help them to remain in their homes as they grew older.

Shortly thereafter, the group invited Ruthann Dobek to offer her perspective as director of both the Council on Aging and the Brookline Senior Center. Upon learning of the bountiful services and offerings available from the Senior Center, the group concluded that the best way to pursue their objective was to combine forces with the Center.

Those gathered became the Steering Committee of what would be a town-wide initiative – the Brookline Community Aging Network (BrooklineCAN).

Three public meetings were held --

  • to learn from experts about how other communities have approached “aging at home” efforts
  • to solicit input from Brookline residents
  • to ask for the active involvement of residents

After these meetings, several committees were formed. The Brookline Community Aging Network was launched in 2011.

Mission Statement

Brookline Community Aging Network (BrooklineCAN) is a member-driven, volunteer organization primarily for older Brookline residents that promotes services and activities to enable independent living and improved quality of life.

Its principal purpose is to ensure that older Brookline residents remain a vital part of the town's social, cultural, and civic life.

BrooklineCAN works with town departments, businesses, and other organizations to make the town a better place to live for all Brookline residents.


BrooklineCAN is a volunteer-driven organization. All of the following committees are looking for new members. Most committees meet once a month. Feel free to sit in on any of these meetings to see if one interests you before joining. Meeting dates and times are in the Senior Center Calendar and the Brookline Tab. You can also contact a chairperson to ask the date of the next meeting.

Steering Committee

, Director, Brookline Senior Center
, Brookline resident; former chair, UMass Boston Gerontology Program

The Steering Committee will establish policies and procedures for BrooklineCAN. The Steering Committee shall be composed of the officers of the organization; one representative each of the Council on Aging, the Board of the Senior Center, and founding partner organizations; and committee chairs who will be selected through a collaborative process between committee members and the Co-Chairs. The Steering Committee may also appoint up to five at-large members drawn from the BrooklineCAN membership. Members of the Steering Committee will serve for two years. The Co-Chairs will establish staggered renewal dates. Members of the Steering Committee must be BrooklineCAN members.

Communications Committee

Chair: , 617-739-9228
Media Relations:
Social Media:

This Committee keeps the community informed of BrooklineCAN programs and services and other area events. It creates newsletters, promotional materials and a website – The committee seeks individuals to draft newsletter articles, write and distribute news releases, help create promotional materials, and make suggestions to help bring BrooklineCAN to the attention of all Brookline residents. If you have skills in journalism, public relations, graphic design, or photography, please join us. We are also looking for individuals with experience with websites and content management software.

Education Committee

Telephone: 617-730-2756

The Education Committee responds to members' interests and needs by providing a variety of informational programs and forums. Topics range from alternative health and embracing your sexuality to housing, transportation, and legal issues. Events and forums have also included movie screenings, panel discussion and a health expo. New members are welcome to join us in brainstorming and developing programs to meet the needs of our diverse membership. All members are encouraged to suggest potential speakers and topics.

Livable Community Advocacy Committee

Telephone: 617-739-9228

While Brookline offers a great deal to its older residents, we want our town to be an even better place to live. This committee calls attention to what Brookline offers and advocates for improvements, including expanded housing for seniors, expanded property tax exemptions for seniors, improvements in specialized transportation for those with disabilities, safer sidewalks, and improved amenities for pedestrians. The committee has created three internet guides about Brookline features of interest to seniors and others: rental and condominium buildings with elevators, restrooms available to the public, and businesses with automatic door openers. The committee also deploys a team that monitors sidewalk conditions in commercial areas after snow storms. The committee provides additional opportunities through Brookline’s Age-Friendly City program, collaboration between BrooklineCAN, the Council on Aging, and the Town to make Brookline more age-friendly. Housing, transportation, libraries, and health are among the main concerns of the Age-Friendly Cities effort

Membership Committee

Interim Chair:
Telephone: 617-730-2756

Because BrooklineCAN has greater impact in the community with more members, this committee plans and conducts outreach at events, over the telephone, and through email and other media. Members of this committee work together and with others to make Brookline an even better place to live for people of all ages by inviting others to join us. The committee sponsors an event in May each year focused on a topic important to members as we age. Our work underlies and supports the work of all other committees and the organization.

Service Referral Committee

Telephone: 617-487-5140

One of the most visited sections of the BrooklineCAN website is the list of screened service providers. Members check this list to find plumbers, handypersons, contractors, electricians and others who have been vetted by the committee. Volunteers have the opportunity to enlarge the list by contacting and vetting additional service providers who have been recommended. They will also have a chance to help plan two educational events a year involving some of the listed services, as well as collect feedback from users of the services. The Committee meets quarterly or as needed. Volunteers work from home and are in touch with each other with each other by phone and email.

Founding Partners

Brookline Senior Center
Center Communities of Brookline
Goddard House
Jewish Family & Children's Service

Community Partners

Brookline Adult and Community Education
Brookline Board of Assessors
Brookline Building Department
Brookline Department of Planning and Community Development
Brookline Department of Public Works
Brookline Health Department
Brookline Police Department
Brookline Public Library
Brookline Recreation Department

Contact Us

Street Address:
Brookline Community Aging Network
Brookline Senior Center
93 Winchester Street
Brookline, MA 02446

Telephone: 617-730-2777

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@brooklinecan.orgGeneral questions or comments
@brooklinecan.orgMembership discussion
@brooklinecan.orgNewsletter feedback or suggestions; any issues for the communications committee
@brooklinecan.orgSubmissions for our “Links” page
@brooklinecan.orgPress releases and other media communication
@brooklinecan.orgContractor recommendations or service provider referrals
@brooklinecan.orgComments about our website