Ask Joan: Volunteering a great way to give back
April 22, 2024

Q. My mother benefited from volunteer meal delivery service when she was no longer able to cook for herself, and I’ve always been so grateful for the help she received in her last years.

Now, I want to do more to give back and help others, especially older adults in situations like my mother. Are there opportunities for me, even though I am still working full time?

AgeSpan CEO
Joan Hatem-Roy

A. I am so glad your mother received the services she needed, and it provided you peace of mind. Dedicated volunteers play a critical role in what we do at AgeSpan, and I appreciate your interest in giving back.

During this National Volunteer Week, I am proud to thank over 300 volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules to lend a hand to meet the critical needs in our communities so others can live safe, independent lives at home.

AgeSpan volunteers bring a wealth of experiences and come from a variety of backgrounds. They are working adults and college students, and some are retirees looking to stay active. Others donate time through their companies or when their children are in school.

What do they have in common? A love of people and a desire to give back whether it’s for a few hours a day or just once a month. If that sounds like something you are interested in, then I encourage you to consider some of the ways you can give back:

Nutrition Program: Meals on Wheels drivers deliver nutritionally balanced meals and a wellness check to homebound older adults and adults with disabilities.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: Work with assisted living, nursing, and rest home staff to serve as a liaison and advocate for the rights and needs of facility residents and their families.

Massachusetts SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) Program: Conduct outreach and education to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members, and caregivers on how to protect, detect, and report healthcare errors, fraud, and abuse.

Mobile Market Program: Assist with the assembly and distribution of fresh and non-perishable foods at monthly community markets.

Friendly Visitor Program: Provide companionship and assistance to isolated older adults by helping with routine activities like running errands, participating in social programs, or just spending time talking or playing board games.

Money Management: Work with older adults to develop basic money management skills such as paying bills, budgeting, and writing checks.

SHINE Program: Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone (SHINE) provides unbiased, confidential information to Medicare beneficiaries to help them understand their health insurance options.

We are always happy to welcome new volunteers. To learn how you can get involved, contact our Volunteer Program at 978-651-3114 or

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at You can also call 800-892-0890 or email

Joan Hatem-Roy is the chief executive officer of AgeSpan.

First published in the Eagle-Tribune

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