MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Maplewood and South Orange have been accepted into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, according to a press release from SOMA Two Towns for All Ages.

"This certification recognizes our towns’ joint commitment to becoming more age-friendly and support residents as they age in place," stated the release.

Since South Orange and Maplewood have been focusing on age-friendly efforts for the past two years through the SOMA Two Towns for All Ages initiative, they were invited to apply to the AARP Network at Stage 2, stated the release, adding that local "elected officials and many other community leaders already recognize and support age-friendly efforts, and each town has a Senior Advisory Committee to represent the voice of older residents in our community."

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As a part of the AARP Network, South Orange and Maplewood will have access to "a leading resource for how to improve the livability of communities for people age 50+ and their families, and ultimately help communities to become great places for everyone to live," stated the release.

Members of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities become part of a global network of communities that are committed to giving their older residents the opportunity to live rewarding, productive and safe lives.

What have South Orange and Maplewood done so far?

SOMA Two Towns for All Ages Initiative reports that in the last two years it has helped make several advances in making the SOMA community more age-friendly and sensitive to the needs of older residents:

  • Age-friendly Guidelines for Community Events
  • Senior Tent at more than 25 Community events like the Summer Concerts at Floods Hill, Maplewoodstock, Army Band Concert, and Play Day
  • Increased communications through website, newsletters and calendar eblasts
  • Hosted the Community-wide Volunteer fair
  • Started NJ’s first Repair Café
  • Offered transportation pilot programs to give residents more options
  • Held a Transportation Summit
  • Expanded the Classic Card discount program for residents over 65
  • Supports the Seniors Advisory Committees
  • Arranged speakers to help residents with Veteran’s benefits, property tax freeze program, and others.

A Senior Housing Forum on November 4 and a Resource Guide are the next big projects geared to help older residents, stated the release.

A reception by the New Jersey Chapter of AARP will be held on Oct. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at The Woodland in Maplewood to welcome the towns into the network  The reception will be a chance to celebrate all we have done so far and hear about opportunities going forward, and is open to the community. for planning purposes, those planning to attend are asked to please call (973) 762-8120 x 4005 or email Crowe@twp.Maplewood.NJ.us.