Respect & Social Inclusion
The students at UC Berkeley are an excellent example of a volunteer resource, from student groups specifically created to improve the welfare of older adults to individuals who sign up to volunteer, for example at the Senior Centers, Meals on Wheels and Ashby Village. Seniors in Berkeley are diverse and may have many intersecting identities that make them more or less vulnerable to agism and other forms of discrimination. Volunteer and service programs keep these issues in mind when engaging with local residents.
Age Friendly Resources
Nonprofit & University
Bears for Elder Welfare is a student organization at UC Berkeley intended to help improve the well-being of local older adults and to foster respect for elders among Berkeley students.
CIL runs 10 week workshops for older adults with new limitations that helps them gain skills they need to overcome barriers to independent living and so they can continue to participate in their communities.
Volunteers of all ages help facilitate Ashby Village activities, including support groups.
AltaBates Medical Center runs a program where volunteers call daily to check-in on people who opt-in to the program and alert emergency contacts if unable to reach someone.
Members of UC Berkeley's student Co-Op volunteer to assist Berkeley seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible.
Forget me Not is a phone call program that partners socially isolated older adults with compassionate high school volunteers for conversation and to forge social bonds.
Lavender Seniors give service providers who are LGBTQ allies"The Emblem" which is a marker that states "Safe, Visible and Celebrated.”
Covia manages Well Connected, an online and over the phone support for individuals and social groups.
Community Survey Results
As a "college town", there are many activities and organizations in Berkeley that are focused on attracting the younger generations. Older adults are also active in the community and identified a wide variety of social resources they consider important.
The vast majority of our survey respondents have someone to socialize with at least weekly and have friends or family to turn to when they need help. At least 6% of the respondents, however, socialize less than once a week and the survey did not capture some of the more isolated seniors.
of survey respondents socialize at least once a week
of survey respondents would turn to family, a friend, or a neighbor if they needed information about services
Equity and Inclusion: Seniors in Berkeley are a diverse group, some with many intersecting identities. Language, race, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender, income level, housing status, and other factors all play a role in the way seniors experience life in Berkeley and it is important for volunteers and service providers to keep this in mind.
Information: The people who filled out our survey are involved in activities in the community and most are socially connected. However, we know this is not representative of the larger community because our survey relied on community organizations and social networks for distribution. Some of the reasons people don't participate in the community is because they are isolated and/or don't know about the activities or resources that could help them participate. The City and organizations need to communicate information clearly and reach out to people who may be more isolated.
Older adults are included in public imagery of local media campaigns, positively and without stereotypes; community members are consulted as to how best to portray older people.
Communication devices are available to ensure that seniors with hearing difficulty are able to participate in public meetings.