Concord Observer: The Council on Aging

April 10, 2024

By Ken Anderson — Columnist

Concord is blessed to have a formidable force and facility for the “aged people” in town. I speak of the Council on Aging, which operates out of the Harvey Wheeler building in West Concord. 

“Aged” means at or over age 60, although 60 doesn’t seem that old or aged anymore. 

I had never heard of the COA until I received a phone call from a woman who was reviewing volunteer cards for people to serve on the Council on Aging Board. I had filed a volunteer card expressing interest in serving on town committees. The woman recognized my name from stories she had heard from the father of a close friend about our escapades. 

She called and explained the position. Eager to get involved, I accepted.

(I arrived for my first meeting and selected the only open chair. To my internal horror, I was sitting right beside a woman who had been an extremely strict teacher who had instilled fear in me for the two years I took her class.)  

Gearing up

I served for six years, slowly getting familiar with the operation. The day the board had to pick a new chairperson, I had to leave the meeting briefly, only to return to find out that I was the new chairperson (not really, but I think the story works better that way).  

I had the pleasure of working closely with the now retired director Bernie Jenkins… and learned the lesson of having a successor lined up to ease the transition. 

At the time, the building had not been renovated and it showed. Radiators shook and hissed. Floors creaked. The windows rattled and let air in. But the warmth of the staff and the volunteers carried the day. Coincidentally, my friend Emmanuel Aronie’s mother was a valued volunteer. 

Abuzz with activity

The building, once renovated, has become a beehive of activity: blood pressure clinics; legal advice; lunches; places to hang out and read; yoga, aerobics, and strength training; bingo; and much more.  

Two years ago, I was searching for a residence in Concord for my mother, who needed 24/7 care. I called the COA and met with the outreach coordinator. She recommended three venues to rent and the names of several people who had registered for jobs as live-in help.  

We moved her to a three-bedroom apartment in Concord where she is stimulated and happy. (Anecdotally, as I led the moving van out of Bedford, the radio station played The Animals singing, “We Gotta Get Out of this Place If It’s the Last Thing We Ever Do!”

She happily plays bingo every Wednesday at the COA. 

I encourage you to check out the Council on Aging to see if any of their activities or services may be of use to you or your aged family members. 

Their website is

And, while you are at it, think about how you can help the town and fill out a volunteer form at

You will be happy you did. I know I am.