PLAINFIELD, NJ - The sun was shining at Plainfield Towers West for Plainfield Seniors-Living Healthy, the event held May 17 that launched Lifelong Plainfield, an initiative to designate the City of Plainfield as an age-friendly community. The day's festivities were hosted by Springpoint Senior Living, the City of Plainfield and the United Way of Greater Union County.
Opening remarks were made by Michael Oakes, Senior VP at Springpoint Foundation and Juanita Ayala-Vargas, VP Programs and Operations at the United Way.
AARP representative Charles Jones presented, "Planning for Long-Term Care."
James W. Horne, Jr., President and CEO of the United Way Greater Union County spoke, and introduced Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and City Council members in attendance.
Mapp addressed the crowd, noting, "Lifelong Plainfield seeks to identify services, provide resources, and enact policies to make Plainfield a more age-friendly community. The initiative’s goals are to increase awareness, build public will and support, foster the development of policies and services designed to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health, and stay active and involved."
Mapp stated that approximately 10,568 Plainfield residents are over the age of 55, accounting for one-fifth of the community's total population, and there are 2,300 seniors who visit the center for activities each month.
He went on to identify the eight key domains that guide communities to become more age-friendly:
- Outdoor spaces and buildings
- Social participation
- Respect and social inclusion
- Civic participation and employment
- Communication and information
- Community support and health services
Mapp then outlined how Plainfield is committing to becoming more age-friendly:
- Investing $2.4 million in city infrastructure improvements
- Expanding local farmer's markets to senior living facilities
- Helping seniors to maintain their homes through the Senior Home Repair program
- Hosting a senior mobility workshop with the New Jersey Department of Transportation to identify ways to increase senior mobility and safety
He finished by thanking all of the parties involved, and the Grotta Fund for Senior Care, which funded Lifelong Plainfield. The Grotta Fund has awarded more than $4.9 million in grants to 54 agencies benefiting seniors since 2003.
In addition to the many informative speakers, there was a fair featuring the Plainfield YMCA, Homefirst, the Iris House, the Plainfield Public Library, and many other vendors.
There was a cooking demonstration, and seniors were given fresh fruits to take home.