A rapidly growing older population has led to changes in health care, including a community health movement with an emphasis on community collaboration, self-help, and capacity building. This study examined factors in the lives of older individuals that influenced their ability and willingness to participate in a health-related community-capacity-building project to help their frail, older neighbours. Using cross-sectional survey methodology, 107 volunteers who lived in a high density seniors' apartment complex known for its high health service utilization were compared with a random sample of 74 non-volunteers from the same community. Factors associated with volunteer involvement included age, activity level, functional ability, life satisfaction and certain personality characteristics. The study suggests that, within a community, the ''younger-old'' may be able to support their frail, older neighbours so that they can remain living in the community.