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Frequently Asked Questions

 Membership

 

  1. Why should I join Nashoba Neighbors?
  2. Who can be a member of Nashoba Neighbors and how much does it cost?
  3. How do I become a member of Nashoba Neighbors?
  4. How are members’ requests for help fulfilled?
  5. Why should I join Nashoba Neighbors if I am healthy and active? 
  6. Why do you need to charge a membership fee when there are many local organizations that will provide services for free?
  7. Who are the volunteers who will help me?
  8. Is there a limit to how many times I can use Nashoba Neighbors services each month?
  9. Is there any service that Nashoba Neighbors cannot do?
  10. I don't live in your area, but my parents do. Can I pay for their membership?
  11. I will be having surgery next month. Can Nashoba Neighbors help me when I come home?
  12. We have a neighbor who lost her husband last year. She is lonely and needs help sometimes, but lives on a very limited income. Can Nashoba Neighbors help her at all? 
  13. Do members have to be volunteers, too?
  14. How do I know if I will get my money's worth from an annual membership with Nashoba Neighbors?
  15. What if I have a caregiver? Can I still use Nashoba Neighbors?

1. Why should I join Nashoba Neighbors?

  • There are so many services to enjoy! 
    • Transportation - daytime, evenings, and weekends
    • Light home repairs and upkeep
    • Yard and outdoor home care
    • Help with change of season chores
    • Neighborly visits and wellness check-ins
    • Short-term emergency supports
    • Technology assistance
    • Home management support
    • Connection to other resources in the community
    • Social activities, interest groups, and educational activities 
  • Call just one number for help and without hesitation - no need to feel badly about asking the same friends, neighbors, or family members for help!
  • Preserve your independence while remaining an active, valued member of your community.
  • Wondering “Who will be there for me?” when planning for retirement or for unexpected situations? Nashoba Neighbors is an answer.
  • Have fun, learn new things, and meet people!
  • Enjoy opportunities to help others and to give back to your neighbors.
  • Transportation services are friendly and comfortable, and take you from point to point, person to person any time of day and any day of the week (assuming volunteers availability).
  • The value of belonging to Nashoba Neighbors goes well beyond personal services. It is more fully measured in the personal connections, fulfillment, and engagement with fellow members and contribution to our broader communities of Berlin, Bolton, and Lancaster.


2. Who can be a member of Nashoba Neighbors and how much does it cost?

You can be a member of Nashoba Neighbors if you are currently living safely and independently in a home, condo, or apartment in Berlin, Bolton, or Lancaster, Massachusetts and would like volunteer assistance to be able to remain in your home as you age. 

You can also join if you are a Nashoba Neighbors volunteer and want to participate in the Nashoba Neighbors activities, such as interest groups, presentations, cultural and social events or trips, or to use our online resources.

Annual Membership for 1 person: $175

Household Membership for 2 people: $300 ($150 for each additional person)


 

3. How do I become a member of Nashoba Neighbors?

Joining is easy! Choose any of these options for becoming a member:

  • Call us at (978) 226-8844
  • Complete the Membership Application page in the Members section of this webpage
  • Print the Membership Interest Form here, complete it and mail it to:
    • Nashoba Neighbors
    • PO Box 123
    • Bolton, MA  01742

After you indicate your interest in becoming a member, our Membership Manager will call you to talk more about your needs and interests and to discuss how Nashoba Neighbors might best meet your needs. We will review the range of services available and talk with you about which services you are interested in and approximately how often you might like to use them. If we both agree that Nashoba Neighbors is a good fit for you, we will collect some contact information, we will show you our website and how you can request a service there and see the various events that are happening, and we will leave you some brief information that you can keep by your phone when you want to call us with a service request. Your membership starts as soon as you sign the membership form and make your first payment.


 

4. How are members’ requests for help fulfilled?

Our members can request services in many ways – by phone, by e-mail or through our website, which is designed for ease of use by members and volunteers.  We recommend requesting a service as soon as you know the service you need, preferably several days in advance, so we have time to locate a volunteer to assist you. No matter when you request a service, we will do our best to match you with an available volunteer; however, we cannot promise volunteer availability, especially when we receive a request the day of or the day just before a service is needed.

The service request will be reviewed by the Nashoba Neighbors Call Manager and discussed further with the member if clarification is needed. The request will then be posted to the list of volunteers who have expressed an interest in providing that kind of help and our Call Manager will text and/or call volunteers, as well, if needed.

Once a volunteer is matched to the service request, the volunteer will contact the member directly to make final plans and arrangements to assist you.


 

5. Why should I join Nashoba Neighbors if I am healthy and active? 

Starting as an active volunteer is a great way to learn about the Nashoba Neighbors community. Then you will understand how we operate and have those connections in place when you need services in the future. Many members of current villages started as volunteers!

In addition, you may want to join Nashoba Neighbors just for the social activities and connections! We have lots of fun together - interest groups, like book clubs and gardening groups, photography groups, and any other interests that members want to enjoy with others - these are member driven. We organize trips to cultural events in the area, such as concerts, art museums, botanical gardens. Some people join Nashoba Neighbors just for the fun and learning we do together!


 

6. Why do you need to charge a membership fee when there are many local organizations that will provide services for free?

We value and work collaboratively with a variety of community partners that help to address the challenges of aging. Unfortunately, there are still gaps in the services our communities provide. For example, few organizations help elders in their homes with chores and tasks that need attention, but become more difficult as we age. Personalized transportation assistance, especially during the evenings and weekends, is also an ongoing need in our communities. Nashoba Neighbors strives to address these gaps in service so that those aging at home can get help with the full range of supports they may need.

The membership fee pays for the tools to make the nonprofit work well for our members. For example, the membership fee supports our hosting a website on which members can find important announcements and a calendar of Nashoba Neighbors’ and other community events. In many cases, members will be able to sign up for events right there. They can make requests for service help there, too, or just call Nashoba Neighbors by phone. Residents across Berlin, Bolton, and Lancaster can learn about all the services and events that Nashoba Neighbors offers at our website, as well.

Most of the membership fee goes to paying for insurance that protects those who volunteer for the organization and for a software package that allows us to sign up and keep track of members and volunteers, as well as quickly match volunteers to member-requested help. Remember, some volunteers may be great home helpers, but not technology helpers, or some may drive our members all over the area, but are not able to help with yard work. And some may be available on certain days and not others. This technology helps us match available volunteers to each member's request for support. It also helps us keep track of all of these interactions so it is easier to assess our progress and report on our work when pursuing funding from area businesses and foundations.

Membership fees also pay for our membership in the national Village to Village Network where an active group representing over 250 villages across 43 states share best practices, guidance, and experiences that inform our ongoing local efforts and access to resources.


 

7. Who are the volunteers who will help me?

Volunteers are members of our local area - whether from Berlin, Bolton, Lancaster, or a neighboring town - who want to help people age successfully in their homes. We welcome volunteers of any race, color, gender identification, faith, sexual orientation, and cultural group.

All Nashoba Neighbors volunteers are vetted before they are allowed to help our members. This means we meet and talk with all volunteers first and use screening practices to ensure our volunteers do not have criminal backgrounds or bad driving records. All of our vetted volunteers then receive initial training, a Volunteer Handbook, and regular check-ins to see how things are going and what kind of support they need to provide the best possible service for our members.

These actions allow you to feel safe and supported by the volunteer who comes to your home to help. In addition, we will follow-up with you after the volunteer leaves so you can let us know how things went and how our volunteers can be even more helpful if you’d like them to help again some time. 

Volunteers must be over the age of 18, or if younger, must be accompanied by a fully vetted Nashoba Neighbors volunteer.

Nashoba Neighbors makes the decision about which volunteers to send to help when you make a service request; however, if you would like to request a volunteer, we are happy to check first to see if that person is available. We think it is especially wonderful when our members and volunteers develop  a commitment to each other, so we encourage ongoing helping relationships when it’s an especially good match. 

Remember, even when you have a regular volunteer who helps you frequently, all service requests must go through Nashoba Neighbors and should never be arranged directly with the volunteer. This allows us to keep clear records of which volunteers are available each day.


 

8. Is there a limit to how many times I can use Nashoba Neighbors services each month?

There is currently no limit; however, the services we provide are dependent upon volunteer availability. Volunteers may also be busy responding to other members' requests so those who make service requests frequently may need to wait until a volunteer is available.

 


 

9. Is there any service that Nashoba Neighbors cannot do?

Nashoba Neighbors Does NOT:

  • Administer or handle medications, treatment, or any type of medical care
  • Feed members
  • Do any tasks that require a professional license (plumbing, electrical work, nurse assistance)
  • Attempt to lift someone who has fallen, provide lift assistance, or lift objects over 40-50 lbs.
  • Use the member’s vehicle without appropriate insurance to cover the volunteer driver
  • Clean up bodily fluids or hazardous materials
  • Accept gifts of value; however, tea, coffee, and small food items are acceptable
  • Make referrals or recommendations to paid services or contractors 

 

10. I don't live in your area, but my parents do. Can I pay for their membership?   

Yes! This is a great gift to give your parents and you will know they have a wonderful community in place to help them. They still will need to go through the membership process so that we, and they, can make sure Nashoba Neighbors fits their needs and we can deliver the services they may need in the future, but once they are members, you will enjoy knowing there is a neighborly support system at-the-ready to assist your parents.


 

11. I will be having surgery next month. Can Nashoba Neighbors help me when I come home?

Yes! Everyone needs help sometimes and Nashoba Neighbors can help you plan ahead for services and can make sure tasks around the home are taken care of while you are recuperating. We can take care of your pets, water the plants, pick up groceries, get the mail, visit with you - whatever helps take the worry out of recuperating at home.

Remember though, we are not allowed to provide nursing care, including wound care, pill management, or lift assistance.


 

12. We have a neighbor who lost her husband last year. She is lonely and needs help sometimes, but lives on a very limited income. Can Nashoba Neighbors help her at all? 

Nashoba Neighbors is a good fit to support people in your neighbors’ situation. We try our best not to turn anyone away due to financial circumstances. Here are some options to consider:

  • Sponsor her membership
  • Ask a local church if they sponsor memberships
  • Pass information about Nashoba Neighbors to your neighbor’s family so they can consider buying her a membership
  • Call us to discuss a subsidized membership

 

13. Do members have to be volunteers, too?

No. Members are enouraged, but are not required, to volunteer for Nashoba Neighbors. Our members often want to volunteer by providing services to other members or helping with office or marketing tasks. Whether you need Nashoba Neighbors' services at this time or not, it feels great to be able to help and get to know others who are also trying their best to remain in their homes as they age!


 

14. How do I know if I will get my money’s worth from paying the membership fee?

We encourage you to calculate what it will cost to pay businesses in the area for some of the services that Nashoba Neighbors provides through our volunteers. For example, if no family members or neighbors are available, or you simply don’t want to ask them to drive you to the grocery store week after week, what would it cost to pay an area taxi service? What would it cost to have a landscaping company in town come do some upkeep in your gardens a few times during the summer?

The following chart (in development) gives some idea of these costs. Only you can estimate how frequently you might use any of these services, but most people admit that, as we age, we need to use these services more often, not less!


Services

Estimated Frequency

Estimated Cost

Annual Cost: Non-Member

Annual Cost: Member

Trash Disposal

1x per week

Garbage pick up service  

$0

Handyman

6x per year

   

$0

Trip to Grocery Store or Pharmacy

1x per week

   

$0

Technology Assistance (Geek Squad)**

3x per year

$200 Total Tech Support, $50/visit

$350

possible costs only if volunteer is unable to resolve issue

Roundtrip to Boston and/or Logan

3x per year

$170 each way

$1,020

cost of tolls, parking, and .56/mile for mileage exceeding 30 miles each way

Local Transportation

2x per month

$20 per roundtrip

$480

$0

Yard Work

6x per year

$25 for a 2-hour visit from a teenager (much higher costs for professional services!) $300- $1200

$0

Home Management Assistance

2x per month

   

 $0

Total Cost

       

* costs estimated based on research of paid, professional services in our area

** some tasks may need the expertise of a technician or the purchase of hardware or software

 

15. What if I have a caregiver? Can I still use Nashoba Neighbors?

Members with caregivers should have the caregiver come on any trips or participate in any services, as needed. For example, the caregiver may need to be responsible for your safe transfer in and out of a car or movement inside a building, or a caregiver may need to administer your medications or provide medical or other assistance during a service call.