The Power of Giving Back with Resident Angie Sheppard

Angie Sheppard loves volunteering in her free time.

Volunteering is making waves among Brookdale communities. When Resident Program Coordinator Katherin Nelson came up with the idea to create homemade dog biscuits for two local animal shelters, she had no idea how many she and her group of Brookdale West Melbourne residents would be able to make. Little did she know, the bevy of volunteers she would have from within her own community.

The residents at the small, but community made 150 dog biscuits, all from scratch, and in two different flavors.

Angie Sheppard, 85, was one of the many volunteers who pitched in to create the doggy treats, and she even helped hand them out at the shelters.

“It’s a good feeling when you see these animals that you’ve done something for them. It makes your heart feel good,” she said.

These volunteer efforts happen often at Brookdale West Melbourne, as well as at many other Brookdale communities, and the residents love to get involved. Angie estimates that roughly 90 percent of her residents participate in the community-wide volunteer projects.

In addition to making dog biscuits, the community also collected donations for the animal shelters. Residents, staff and even family members brought in all kinds of items, ranging from blankets and toys to collars and food. One resident generously purchased brand-new fluffy, white towels so that the shelter dogs and cats could have something plush and comfortable at the bottom of their crates.

“They were gorgeous! I wanted them!” Angie said of the high-quality towels.

Benefits of Volunteering

Research has proven that giving back has many benefits — emotionally, spiritually, but also physically as well. A 2013 study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in Psychology and Aging, found that adults over age 50 were less likely to develop high blood pressure if they volunteered on a regular basis. Another 2012 study in the journal Health Psychology found that participants who volunteered with some regularity and with the intent to help others actually lived longer.


Sources: Harvard Medical School,; American Psychological Association,

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