Year of the Maplewood Senior (Older Adult)

joan crystal

The Maplewood Township Committee has just voted to create a Maplewood Seniors Advisory Committee (Ordinance #2844-16). Full text of the ordinance is available on-line at the official town website. At the same time, Maplewood, along with SO, is moving ahead with the Age Friendly Cities initiative (branded as SOMA Two Towns For All Ages), placing initial emphasis on infrastructure, community inclusion, and communication improvements; then moving on to other Senior-related issues. Maplewood and SO will be sharing a project manager, employed by Maplewood but funded jointly, whose primary responsibility will be to address the needs of seniors in our community. Both groups will be working to find ways to make it easier for Seniors to remain in our community as our financial, health, and social circumstances change with age. Maplewood has begun expanding programs aimed at Seniors that are being offered through both the Recreation Department and the Health Department. The town's zoning official and welfare director are also being brought in to work on Senior issues within their area of specialty.

There is so much that needs to be done in this area. Senior now or senior to be, please think of the programs, policies, resources, services you would like to see in place to help you remain in town now and in the future. Share them below. No idea is too big or too small. In fact the small ones are apt to be the easiest to accomplish. Please post your ideas here and lets have a discussion that could result in making life better for all of us.

If you are looking to get involved more directly, the local steering committee of the Age Friendly Cities Initiative is looking to get as many Seniors and providers or services to Seniors involved as possible. Please send a PM if you would like to participate and I will pass your contact information on to the program's interim coordinator.


joan crystal

SOMA Two Towns For All Ages has a social event scheduled for Sunday March 12, 2017 from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Woodland. This is a meet and mix event designed to enable Seniors from Maplewood and South Orange to get to know one another. Admission is one canned good for the OLS Food Pantry. To the best of my knowledge there is no registration or RSVP required. If this changes, I will post updated information to this thread. If anyone reading this knows of other events which would be of particular interest to Seniors, please post them here.


joan crystal

I just received my copy of the February 2017 edition of the Maplewood Spotlight in the mail. This is a publication mailed by the town to seniors who request to be on their mailing list. (Call 973-763-0750 for additional information if you would like to be added to the mailing list.) Events listed in this months issue include:

Monthly meeting of the Maplewood Senior Club (dues $10 per calendar year) - February 8th at 10 am at 106 Burnett Avenue; featured speaker Candace Davenport, town nurse educator; valentine themed refreshments; bingo.

Bus trip to Montclair Art Museum, February 16, 2017, 11:00 am departure; $18 per person, includes museum tour and art activity. Lunch extra on your own.

Pizza and a movie - February 10, 2017 at 11 am at 106 Burnett Avenue.

Dates and times for adult health clinic and adult health screenings to be held in February 2017.

Dates for scheduled bus trips in February to ShopRite, Livingston Mall, Home Depot/Target and other local shopping destinations.


lizziecat

All I want is more handicapped parking in the centers of both towns.


joan crystal

Handicapped parking was discussed at the most recent Infrastructure Subcommittee meeting and is being explored by both towns. A Maplewood official at the meeting explained that this is a difficult problem to address because of code requirements, existing structural considerations such as need for curb cuts and room for additional space required for the wider handicapped spaces, and the fact that existing law requires a set number of spaces but does not address where they must be placed within the defined area. We don't even know if demand is uniform throughout our two towns or if some handicapped spaces are in high demand while others go unused. The problem has been referred to the Maplewood Town Engineer for further study and analysis. It was suggested that the SO Parking Authority be asked to look into the issue in SO.


Marie

Joan, I applaud your efforts and tenacity for bettering the lives of those of us in the "golden years"!


Aside to TPTB...why is it almost impossible to select one emoji on iPhone?! Think if selections came at the bottom, it might be easier.




Apollo T.

A while ago there was 'suggestion' box posted here on MOL seeking input on things to do for seniors. Has anyone tried to do a 'census' of seniors? their 'needs' and disabilities?


joan crystal

Yes. Senior Share is doing one, going door to door. The plan is to develop a database that can be used by the town to determine who the seniors are, where they are located, and what special needs they may have. In addition to taking down information regarding the names and number of seniors in the household, they are asking questions regarding services needed. If you would like to be included in the census or become one of the census takers,send me an email or PM with your preferred contact information and I will forward it to the coordinator of that program.


joan crystal

Tonight, the Township Committee will appoint members to the newly created Maplewood Seniors Advisory Committee. Public portion of the meeting starts at 7:30 pm. Meeting is open to the public, can be streamed live over the internet, and can be viewed on Comcast and FIOS. This is an important next step in helping the Township Committee to be more aware of Seniors needs and to better understand the ways in which existing town policies and activities can inadvertently have a negative impact on our Senior population.


joan crystal

The following is the text of an email by Senior Share. Meeting on February 18, 2017 begins at 10:00 am at the Main Library Building. Note: Library opens at 10:00 am.

At our next meeting David Mollen , president of the NJ Chapter of AARP will speak . His focus will be what we can do to ensure that Medicare remains strong . He will address the connection to Obamacare, activities of AARP on a national level and what we can do locally and statewide to protect our Health Program .Mr Mollen will address how we can actively work to preserve the Medicare benefits we now have in place We urge you to attend and to spread the date with your family and friends AND to bring them along with you .If you have a FB page please spread the word ..if you can put up a poster , please do so ..a poster will be forwarded soon on our FB page .PLEASE AS well Mark the date of March 12 on your calendar ..it is a Senior Meet and Greet for all seniors in the two towns . It will be held at the Woodland from 2-4 and promises games and other activities for us.. a planning session is to be held on the twelfth if you would like to help with the plans. E mail for details.


krnl

Thank you Joan for bringing this to our attention.

I have said this before, I do not understand why current issues of the Maplewood Senior Spotlight is NOT on the Maplewood website and NOT included in the quarterly Maplewleaflet.

ETA: If the Recreation Department can send me emails about children's sports registrations, why don't they send anything about seniors to seniors---and, likely, their families with small children who might also be interested in activities for seniors in their lives. Rant over.


joan_crystal said:

I just received my copy of the February 2017 edition of the Maplewood Spotlight in the mail. This is a publication mailed by the town to seniors who request to be on their mailing list. (Call 973-763-0750 for additional information if you would like to be added to the mailing list.) Events listed in this months issue include:

Monthly meeting of the Maplewood Senior Club (dues $10 per calendar year) - February 8th at 10 am at 106 Burnett Avenue; featured speaker Candace Davenport, town nurse educator; valentine themed refreshments; bingo.

Bus trip to Montclair Art Museum, February 16, 2017, 11:00 am departure; $18 per person, includes museum tour and art activity. Lunch extra on your own.

Pizza and a movie - February 10, 2017 at 11 am at 106 Burnett Avenue.

Dates and times for adult health clinic and adult health screenings to be held in February 2017.

Dates for scheduled bus trips in February to ShopRite, Livingston Mall, Home Depot/Target and other local shopping destinations.



joan crystal

The Mapleleaf would not be a good venue for up-to-date information on programs and services of interest to Seniors because the Mapleleaf comes out quarterly and the Maplewood Senior Spotlight is often revised right up to its monthly publication date. Even then, it has been known to contain outdated information since things are apt to change between issues.

I agree that it should not be difficult to scan each month's issue of the Maplewood Senior Spotlight and upload it to the town website. However, a hard copy form of distribution is also needed since a surprising number of Seniors in town are not and do not have any interest in becoming computer literate or have no reliable access to a computer. For the computer literate among us, being able to sign up for and receive up-to-date email blasts on programs and alerts of interest to Seniors offered not just by recreation, but by health, police, fire, DPW and other town departments would be a huge help.

This is a suggestion which should be made to the Communications Subcommittee of the Local Steering Committee for SOMA Two Towns For All Ages, which has been charged with finding ways to improve communication between Maplewood and SO and the Seniors who live in both communities.


joan crystal

Here is another example of an inadequately publicized program aimed specifically at Maplewood Seniors. I found out today that only six of the ten available spots in the program have been filled and that all six who have registered to date are persons who were in the program in 2016 and liked it so much they are eager to return. If you are interested, contact dakaslow@comcast.net. Share this information with anyone you know who might be interested.

The Maplewood Library is sponsoring the 2017 edition of Great Decisions, A Foreign Policy Association Discussion Program, which provides information and opportunity for discussion on topics of international interest and impact. This year's topics include:

The Future of Europe Coping With Crisis

Trade, Jobs, and Politics

Conflict in the South China Sea

Saudi Arabia in Transition

U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum

Latin America's Political Pendulum

Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Nuclear Security: The Enduring Challenge of Nuclear Weapons

The group meets on Wednesday mornings from 10 am to noon; from March 8 to May 3, with a one session break. As with any class format, participants are expected to be able to make all sessions of the program.


Sally

Even if the Leaflet isn't a primary communication mechanism, it ought to include some mention of this effort rather than ignore it. JMO.


joan crystal

The Leaflet does include information regarding exercise classes for seniors. There could/should also be mention of the existence of the Senior Club and on-going transit options. However, another mechanism is needed for programs of shorter duration.


joan crystal

Adult Health Screenings: Medication, Weight, & Health Counseling, Blood Pressure Screening, Cartoid Bruit Screening, Diabetes Risk Assessment. Free and open to Maplewood Adults 18 and over.

2017 Dates:

Main Library: 10:30 am to noon - 2/15; 4/19; 6/14; 8/16; 10/11; 12/13.

Hilton Branch: 3:30 - 5:00 pm - 1/11; 3/15; 5/10; 7/12; 9/13; 11/15.

Town Hall: 10 am to noon - 1/12; 2/9; 3/9; 4/20; 5/11; 6/8; 7/13; 8/10; 9/14; 10/12; 11/9; 12/14

Drop ins welcome. For appointment call 973-762-8120 ext. 4300




joan crystal

Update on March 12, 2017 event. Just found out that registration is required as space may be limited. Sign-up sheet is available at DeHart Community Center (973-763-0750) and may be available at other locations as well. If you know of another sign-up location, please post here.


joan crystal

Why Dark Chocolate Is Good For You has been rescheduled. The program will now be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at the Maplewood Senior Center, 106 Burnett Avenue, beginning at 11:30 am. This program begins with a presentation on the benefits of dark chocolate (with samples), followed by pizza from Roman Gourmet and a showing of the movie Bridget Jones Baby. Preregistration is required. For more information and to register, call 973-763-0750. Those who registered when the event was scheduled for February 10, 2017 need not register again. This program aimed at Seniors is sponsored by the Maplewood Department of Recreation. There is no charge for attending.


joan crystal

Reminder: Senior Share meeting this morning at 10:00 am in the Maplewood Room of the Main Library Building. Topic is possible impact on Medicare as a result of steps being taken to end/replace the Affordable Care Act. Speaker is from AARP.


joan crystal

Senior Club activities for March

Senior Club Monthly Meeting. March 8th. 10:00 am. Understanding Memory Loss. Senior Center. No registration required.

Morris Museum trip. March 15th. Cost $5. Registration required. Space limited. Call 973-763-0750. Bus leaves from DeHart Community Center at 11:00 am.

Lunch and Learn - Decluttering Your home and Life. March 23rd. Free. Registration required. Call 973-763-0750. Senior Center. 11:00 am.


joan crystal

This just appeared in my inbox:

SIGN UP NOW!! SPACE IS LIMITED and FILL UP QUICKLY! The Maplewood Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs is pleased to again offer all 60+ residents, especially those with no previous art training, the opportunity to participate in this stimulating, quality art class. This free, 10-week course, “Fundamentals of Painting,” is taught by a professional teaching artist and will take place in the new Maplewood Senior Center, 106 Burnett St. The program will also include a trip to the Newark Museum and 1978 Arts Gallery in Maplewood. Classes are for 2 hours and will be held on Thursdays, 11am -1pm, beginning March 30. As part of the program we also offer our unique “Open Studio,” which allows students to work independently and get more personalized attention on Fridays, 12p – 2p. If you are interested in participating in the program, Contact: Michelle Wesley Michellew@twp.maplewood/nj.us. 973.762.0750 Or, Visit DeHart Community or Town Hall


joan crystal

There is still one place left in the Great Decisions Group, which had its first meeting this morning. If you are interested, contact Dan Kaslow at the email address given in the quote below. First come, first served. PM me if you have any questions regarding the program.

joan_crystal said:

Here is another example of an inadequately publicized program aimed specifically at Maplewood Seniors. I found out today that only six of the ten available spots in the program have been filled and that all six who have registered to date are persons who were in the program in 2016 and liked it so much they are eager to return. If you are interested, contact dakaslow@comcast.net. Share this information with anyone you know who might be interested.

The Maplewood Library is sponsoring the 2017 edition of Great Decisions, A Foreign Policy Association Discussion Program, which provides information and opportunity for discussion on topics of international interest and impact. This year's topics include:

The Future of Europe Coping With Crisis

Trade, Jobs, and Politics

Conflict in the South China Sea

Saudi Arabia in Transition

U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum

Latin America's Political Pendulum

Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Nuclear Security: The Enduring Challenge of Nuclear Weapons

The group meets on Wednesday mornings from 10 am to noon; from March 8 to April 26, 2017. As with any class format, participants are expected to be able to make all sessions of the program.



joan crystal

Cathy Rowe is the newly appointed Project Coordinator for the Age Friendly Cities Initiative: Two Towns For All Ages. Her office is located at Maplewood Town Hall, in the room shared by the Town Clerk, Health Department, and Department of Recreation. She can be reached by calling the general number for Town Hall.


frank

With all due respect, how age friendly can Maplewood and South Orange be when we our population of seniors is decreasing over time, on top of which, their exit hurts both towns economically and qualitatively. None of our town leaders got behind a plan to give each public school student in the state the same amount of aid, a plan which would, if implemented, have decreased taxes for the average South Orange homeowner nearly $4,000, with all that money going to the school district. A win-win for taxpayers and our kids. And the surest way to keep more seniors from selling their homes and leaving, which usually results in a family with kids moving in, leading to even larger enrollments and more costs for the schools and for taxpayers. When will South Orange and Maplewood put some effort into helping seniors help South Orange and Maplewood. Do we no longer focus on the common good, but rather, satisfying the needs of one segment of the population?


Sally

@commongooder - The issues you mention are much of what is being discussed in this initiative, with efforts being made to try to mitigate where possible. Many of us who are in or approaching our 'seniority' would like to stay if possible. But there will definitely need to be changes to increase the numbers staying.


kthnry


commongooder said:

With all due respect, how age friendly can Maplewood and South Orange be when we our population of seniors is decreasing over time, on top of which, their exit hurts both towns economically and qualitatively. None of our town leaders got behind a plan to give each public school student in the state the same amount of aid, a plan which would, if implemented, have decreased taxes for the average South Orange homeowner nearly $4,000, with all that money going to the school district. A win-win for taxpayers and our kids. And the surest way to keep more seniors from selling their homes and leaving, which usually results in a family with kids moving in, leading to even larger enrollments and more costs for the schools and for taxpayers. When will South Orange and Maplewood put some effort into helping seniors help South Orange and Maplewood. Do we no longer focus on the common good, but rather, satisfying the needs of one segment of the population?

I'm a near-senior facing the stay-or-go decision, but I was opposed to Christie's flat-payment scheme and I'm glad he dropped it. I'm not willing to gut the poor districts to save a few bucks for myself. That's my definition of the common good.


joan crystal


commongooder said:

With all due respect, how age friendly can Maplewood and South Orange be when we our population of seniors is decreasing over time, on top of which, their exit hurts both towns economically and qualitatively. None of our town leaders got behind a plan to give each public school student in the state the same amount of aid, a plan which would, if implemented, have decreased taxes for the average South Orange homeowner nearly $4,000, with all that money going to the school district. A win-win for taxpayers and our kids. And the surest way to keep more seniors from selling their homes and leaving, which usually results in a family with kids moving in, leading to even larger enrollments and more costs for the schools and for taxpayers. When will South Orange and Maplewood put some effort into helping seniors help South Orange and Maplewood. Do we no longer focus on the common good, but rather, satisfying the needs of one segment of the population?

The mass exodus from Maplewood and South Orange of Seniors and those approaching their senior years is precisely what is driving the SOMA Two Towns For All Ages Initiative. While high real property taxes and general cost of living are a serious problem, there are other factors that contribute to this exodus including infrastructure issues, failing health, social isolation, and poor public transportation within the community, among others. The Local Steering Committee of the SOMA Two Towns For All Ages initiative (which is still seeking and welcoming members) and the Seniors Advisory Committee of each town are working to address all of them. Now is the time to get involved and work for positive change. Join the Local Steering Committee which is working directly on finding solutions to these problems. Pass your program and service needs on to Cathy Rowe, members of the Local Steering Committee, members of the Seniors Advisory Committee in your town, and/or your town's elected municipal officials. Become active in senior groups such as South Orange Seniors in South Orange and Senior Share in Maplewood, both of which are advocating for improved conditions for Seniors in our community. Engage in dialog with your friends IRL and on-line to identify problems and come up with approaches to solutions. If you are already a Senior (eligibility is generally defined as old enough to be eligible for social security benefits) become informed on what is presently available for seniors in our two towns, spread the word on what you find, and most importantly take advantage of the offerings that apply to you. We need to keep showing that there is a demand for these services so we can push for augmenting them.


joan crystal

The senior mixer was a very successful event. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make it possible.


frank

Two out of three South Orange residents age 60 will have left town by the age of 70. There are even more pre-seniors ages 55 to 60 that leave right after they become empty-nesters. There are many reasons for lealving, but the two biggest "push" factors for seniors and pre-seniors is property taxes and having too much "home" after the kids have left. Those two issues have to be addressed if South Orange and Maplewood are not to remain woefully behind the statewide average in senior population. What's more, their low numbers directly contribute to the enrollment increases in our schools that especially strap the school district in making ends meet with their budget, given the statewide cap and no increases in state aid in recent years. A majority of seniors leave South Orange well before they would even be concerned about mass transit options around town and infrastructure improvements and the like.


joan crystal

Infrastructure improvements can include making improvements to one's own house to make it more livable. I have one neighbor who added a ramp to their front door to allow for wheel chair access. Another neighbor is basically trapped in his own home because the layout of the house on its lot will not allow for an ADA compliant ramp. Putting in a bathroom on the first floor is a need some of us face when a family member can no longer handle stairs, while others strongly consider adding a stair lift. There are many other examples. Assuming one is willing and able to put in such effort, we need a service that will come in and advise homeowners on what they can do to make their personal space more workable as they age.

If we want to keep Seniors in our two towns, we also need to look into housing alternatives. South Orange has better senior housing options IMHO than Maplewood. Both towns have improved apartment options in recent years for the down-sizer who wants to remain in town. Still, this does not solve the problem you mentioned of Seniors selling their single family homes leading to more families with young children moving in and adding to the pressure on the school system.

Lowering taxes, apart from the real property tax freeze Senior homeowners with household income of $70,000 or less qualify for, does not have an easy fix. Giving Seniors a real property tax break equivalent to a percentage of their school tax obligation could result in a long term cost saving to the school district if the cost of education of children moving into that home were greater than the savings given to the Senior (assuming such children did not go to private school); but, the school district is so cash strapped right now that I can't see this happening. Nor, is it likely that the school district could afford this in the short term. A more realistic possibility being examined is shared housing, where a Senior could legally share their home with one or more persons who are not family members. This could provide the home owner with income towards paying real property taxes and have the advantage of reducing social isolation.

There are always ways to reduce or even eliminate a problem. We just need to work together to find them.



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