Senior Share Meeting - Age Friendly Cities - November 19, 2016

... 9:30 am at Les Saisons.

This is a very important meeting for anyone concerned with improvement in senior friendly programming and services. There will be discussion of Maplewood's plan to create a Senior Advisory Committee and progress to date on the Age Friendly Cities Initiative being instituted by Maplewood and South Orange.

All are welcome. Come with your ideas and questions.

I can't make the 11/19 meeting, but did want to make this suggestion: It would be great for SOMa seniors if the shelter at 298 Walton were reopened. People for Animals would no doubt be sheltering feral kittens for time to time, and seniors would have the opportunity to help socialize the kittens.

@ Elle_Cee This is an important meeting for Maplewood and South Orange older adults (current PC euphemism for seniors) and persons with locally residing older adults in their families, who want to be brought up to date on what is presently being planned to help older adults receive the enhanced services they need to be able to remain in our community.

The featured speaker at the 11/19 meeting of Maplewood Senior Share will be Ian Grodman who is a member of the Maplewood Township Committee. He will be speaking on Maplewood's plans to create a Senior Advisory Committee to advise the Maplewood Township Committee on ways to best address the needs of Maplewood's older adults. There will also be a presentation by members of Maplewood Senior Share who have been involved in the preparation of the Age Friendly Cities implementation plan being submitted by the townships of Maplewood and South Orange Village to the Grotta Fund in the hopes of receiving a three year grant to identify the needs of seniors in both towns and provide improved programs, services, and inclusion initiatives for this segment of our community. Both portions of the program will deal with senior issues on a macro level.

The suggestion that Maplewood and/or South Orange partner with one or more local animal shelters or rescues to provide an opportunity for older adults to help socialize the animals could be presented to the Maplewood Recreation Department and to South Orange Seniors as a possible program that could be implemented now. Specific lobbying for the retention of an animal shelter on Walton is best discussed with the elected officials of South Orange since they will be taking the lead in deciding how that property will be used going forward.

Not sure I can be there but a jitney service, utilizing existing jitneys, that seniors could access would be terrific. Non-commuting hours could include stops at supermarkets, libraries, downtown areas, etc. Perhaps even a weekly trip out of town to places of interest such as the Newark Museum, the Montclair Art Museum, etc. Liberty Science Center, etc. Many places of interest have free admission on certain days or senior discount days.

@nakaille Much of this already exists in both Maplewood and South Orange. My familiarity is with Maplewood.

Maplewood has a senior bus which will take seniors door to door to destinations in Maplewood during the daytime hours weekdays when the jitney to/from the train station is not operating. Service is based on availability and requires 24 hour notice of need. The bus makes weekly supermarket trips to Millburn ShopRite and scheduled trips to nearby shopping destinations including but not limited to Home Depot, Target, Livingston Mall, Walmart, and Marshals. There are senior day trips to various destinations of interest. In the past year, this has included trips to the Jersey Shore, Grounds For Sculpture, luncheon theaters, Jersey Shore Premium Outlets (scheduled for tomorrow) and Bethlehem PA (scheduled for December) to name those I can recall. These trips are reservation required, first come, first served with no charge for transportation.

There are some major problems with this service:

The bus is old and not accessible to those who can't handle steep stairs leading into the bus.

The bus does not run evenings or weekends when need is greatest for those who either don't drive at all and are uncomfortable walking dark streets at night or those who no longer drive at night even though they drive during the daylight hours when the bus is in operation.

The bus is not available to take seniors to doctors appointments scheduled for times when the bus is not in operation or to doctors appointments outside of Maplewood.

When the bus is being used for a scheduled trip, it is not available to take seniors to other destinations.

These are issues that are being explored as part of the Age Friendly Cities Initiative.

As I explore the problem of enhancing senior services, what concerns me most is that the seniors who are in greatest need of the existing services don't know they exist and those providing the services don't know who those seniors are or how to reach them. That is why I am pressing so hard for affected parties to attend the meeting this Saturday.

Thanks for all the good info, Joan.

Step one in Maplewood would be to transfer responsibility for senior services out of the Recreation Department. I cannot understand why I get emails to register for every single sport activity for kids, but NEVER get any information on the senior programs. NADA.

The proposed project coordinator to be hired to oversee the Age Friendly Cities Initiative for South Orange and Maplewood will be located, at least administratively, in the Maplewood Department of Recreation. Position will be responsible for coordinating senior-directed programs in all areas of municipal government in both towns, not just Maplewood Recreation. For first hand information and ability to ask questions directly, please consider coming to Saturday's meeting.

Meeting is tomorrow. The Age Friendly Cities Initiative should of interest to all of us who want to be able to age here in place, whether now or in the future.

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