Years of the Maplewood NJ Senior (Older Adult)

I've made this point before. One can choose or not choose to participate in these wonderful events, but there is no real choice of where to live.

sac said:

Is there any news on some of the concerns about housing, zoning, taxes, etc.?  The events and support services are great, and I understand that they are valuable and important (and certainly easier to implement or enhance quickly.)  But it's those bigger issues that will make or break this effort.

Easier to implement programs and support services are being addressed first.  Others will come.  First priority is to identify who the seniors are, where they are located, and what their needs are.  The classic card applications will help with this by enabling the two towns to begin developing a data base with this information. 

The next priority is to find the most effective means of reaching this population - policies, programs, and services are only as effective as the ability to make the target population aware of what exists. To this end, an electronic and hard copy monthly newsletter and on-line website are in the works.  These vehicles will contain information about existing and proposed policies, programs, and services; monthly events of interest to the target population, and opportunities to become more active in the community. Other means of communication including use of existing media sources and phone chains are also being explored.

The major issues you mention: housing, zoning, taxes, plus others such as transportation, home maintenance, neighbor outreach, and infrastructure are on the table and will be addressed once the user base and communication tools are in place.  

If you have any specific issues/concerns, please share them with Cathy Rowe (contact information given in above posts). If you would like to become more directly involved in the planning, research, and development process, share your interest with Cathy Rowe and ask her to include you in the local steering committee activities.  All participants in the planning process are welcome.

Regarding housing:  Senior Share, an independent group not affiliated with local government, is beginning a series of programs on housing alternatives.  The first program in that series will be held Saturday, June 24, 2017 at the Maplewood Library (Baker Street) at 1 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

annielou said:

I've made this point before. One can choose or not choose to participate in these wonderful events, but there is no real choice of where to live.

What choices would you like to have?  How would you like local government to assist you and others in making this choice?

Some tax relief for home owners and, not for myself but for others, preferential housing in new development. Right now when I walk or ride past 3rd and Valley, for example, I'm  struck by the number of college student-aged people walking in and out. Not anyone's idea of a peaceful retirement environment. 


Some tax relief already exists for Seniors who meet age and income restrictions, Maplewood has a forgivable loan program for home maintenance, again based on income, which requires remaining in your home for ten years (Don't know if South Orange has something comparable).  CCR has a loan program for exterior improvements only, applicable to both Maplewood and South Orange, which has no income or age restriction. Number of available loans in both programs is likely limited and based on first come/first served. 

One proposal under consideration is to allow seniors to improve their home to make it more accessible without their being hit with an increase in real property tax based on any impact these changes may have on market value of the house.  Many such improvements do not trigger reassessment but major changes such as adding a bathroom on the first floor would.  Such a change in regulation would enable more seniors to age in place in their own home.  

There are problems with this, including but not limited to: 

All other property owners would be subsidizing the tax liability of seniors taking advantage of such a program; 

Careful records would have to be kept so that revaluations would not trigger an increase in real property tax value at a later date; 

Program eligibility would have to be based on home ownership by eligible senior with higher real property tax being triggered by change in home ownership; 

Dealing with the issue that seniors are not the only segment of the population needing accessibility modifications leading to pressure to expand the program to cover all affected residences;  

Need to ensure permits are issued for major capital construction, plumbing changes and the like.  

Ramps are another issue.  A friend in his 90s is unable to leave his house because existing code restrictions do not permit the installation of a ramp on his property.  Relaxing this code requirement or finding a work around could help the elderly remain in their home longer and still enable them to get out in the community.

The problem with not being able to give local seniors preference for the limited senior housing we have available in Maplewood and South Orange has been discussed and is not easily solvable given current legislation.  The buildings are all privately owned, have waiting lists, and are required to be first come, first served regardless of applicant's present place of residence. Non senior housing, may have units that are not suitable for seniors, even if seniors were to be given preference for such units.  

Peaceful retirement living is not guaranteed no matter where you live.  Large number of college aged residents in rental units is to be expected in a college town such as South Orange.  This is less of a problem in Maplewood, especially in those neighborhood further from Seton Hall.

I think I have already submitted info and I certainly understand that these things take time.  I just wondered if there had been any progress yet on those bigger issues.  For better or worse, my community service volunteer time and energy is already booked up and I am not yet retired from my "day job", so (for now at least) I have to be a bystander/information consumer on this one.  

In the near future, we are looking at a potential renovation project in our house.  While the objectives there are not primarily for accessibility, I do hope to take "aging in place" issues into account in deciding on what to do and how to do it.  Are there resources for contractors/consultants who specialize in that sort of thing?  (I know I've seen articles about that from time to time and probably even saved some internet links ... now to try to find them in my files!)

Thanks for your response. I currently enjoy a peaceful home on a peaceful street and would like to stay here. This specific concern is, I'm sure, shared by many other South Orange seniors. Seniors subsidize schools that we do not use, and I personally have no problem with that, but I think it's unfair to point out that a home improvement program for seniors is unfair to other tax payers. In addition, developers and to a certain extent town government, tout their new building projects as options for senior down sizing or for commuters who will hopefully buy in town. That's not going to happen if new buildings are essentially off campus dorms designed to solve housing issues by a non tax paying entity. At least they should be honest about that. My proposal is that South Orange Seniors, once identified, should have early access to affordable housing units in new development if they do choose to downsize and want to stay in town. Unfortunately too many vital residents have already packed their bags.

Shameful that there is next to no Senior housing in the two towns.   Got $2,000 a month and up to spare?

Take your pick  Seniors are the forgotten generation.

Author:  In Maplewood Winchester Gardens and the senior citizen housing on Irvington Avenue are the only options I know of for senior housing.  I believe South Orange has two senior citizen buildings, both of which are on or close to South Orange Avenue.  If anyone knows of any additional options in either town, please post them here.

A number of seniors I know have moved into apartments in either town that are not specifically designated as senior housing.  These tend to be at current market rates, some rentals others condo or coop.

joan_crystal said:

Author:  In Maplewood Winchester Gardens and the senior citizen housing on Irvington Avenue are the only options I know of for senior housing.  I believe South Orange has two senior citizen buildings, both of which are on or close to South Orange Avenue.  If anyone knows of any additional options in either town, please post them here.

A number of seniors I know have moved into apartments in either town that are not specifically designated as senior housing.  These tend to be at current market rates, some rentals others condo or coop.

I should have been more specific to the fact that what little Senior housing there is belongs to the private sector..........not sure about Irvington Ave.  Where have the towns been all this time?  And yes I am one of those way passed middle age living in an apt.  I now have an excellent view of The Clorox Building and its very much needed five stores.....but of course that is another matter.   As far as studies being done for the future,  I once  heard the head of an Urban Renewal firm........actually the big them  a "sop"

The senior housing on Irvington Avenue is privately owned.

and very very expensive

Winchester Gardens is very very expensive.  The senior housing on Irvington Avenue is much more reasonable, with a sliding scale based on income.

I don't know what the solutions are, but it's great that people are working on these issues.

I'm sure people already realize that only so much can be done in terms of creating new residences. Where my elderly mother lives, outside of Trenton and Princeton. there is some new development of assisted living and senior residential communities. But the overall suburb is 40 square miles, and these very large buildings - much larger than SOMa developments, in addition to parking lots for visitors - generally are being built on vacant land which recently were farms and forests.

Sounds like you are following a thoughtful approach, and addressing less complicated issues, such as making houses more user-friendly.

Personally, when I admit to being a Senior Citizen, I still will prefer NOT to live in "Seniors-only" housing, at least not until/unless I need "assisted living" services.  But I probably wouldn't enjoy living in housing that was predominantly college students either.  I'm not sure what the solution is, but I don't really think we need a lot of age-restricted housing.

Actually, I hope to be able to stay in my home as long as possible.

I'm so silly. I thought "aging in place" meant I could stay in my own home.

One of my brother in laws lives in a planned community in Central Jersey.  The homes are gorgeous, many with cathedral ceilings.  Exterior maintenance is included.  The club house with it's indoor and outdoor pools is a real draw.   But where are the little ones and the teens?  Where are the kids coming home from the middle school,    backpacks following behind them.  Where is the laughter and occasional prank?

I guess it works for some people.   All I need is to see and remember.........

And then there is the culture then and now. Respect for parents and grands was carved in stone.   And we did not ship Grandfather Spiro off to a nursing home because he was inconvenient to have around.  Senior housing was  no problem then.  But that was then and this is now.  Sometimes progress is not

annielou said:

I'm so silly. I thought "aging in place" meant I could stay in my own home.

That is the major aim of the SOMA Two Towns For All Ages initiative.  Finding ways to make our homes more affordable for those on fixed/limited income is going to be a real challenge as long as school funding is primarily paid for by municipal real property taxes.  While affordability is an often given reason for seniors and soon-to-be seniors leaving our community, need for more accessible housing and community, health issues, proximity to adult children and other family members, home maintenance needs, downsizing, and social isolation are other reasons often given.  We need to consider the full spectrum of problems facing our population if we are going to resolve this problem.

In the mid-1980s when I moved here, it was affordability coupled with location that brought us to Maplewood. (Probably not unlike those moving here today.) Looking along the Morris-Essex line, we could find homes in our price range in South Orange or Maplewood or in Morristown and points west. This was about ten years before Midtown Direct, so that Morris County to NYC commute via Hoboken was pretty brutal.  (Despite fears to the contrary now, SOMa to NYC via Hob was quite doable, although MTD was certainly a big improvement.) We recognized then that the ratio of taxes to P&I in our monthly payment was higher here than 'out west', but that didn't really matter so much to first-time 20-something home buyers.  We fell in love with the community (diversity, 'urban suburb' vibe, etc.) later, after living here a few years and putting down roots.  Now, I still love those things and I love living in a multi-generational neighborhood. I think that many others in or approaching their retirement years feel the same way.  So it is pretty clear that addressing those tax/cost issues plus the accessibility barriers in these old homes are the biggest challenges. For some, availability of suitable apartments may be an answer, but I think that once a decision is made to move out of the long-time home, more will go ahead and find another town or county at the same time. I'm sure this is 'preaching to the choir', but this is why I don't see a huge investment in 'Senior Housing' as being a primary solution.

Arts Unbound is offering free classes for seniors through their elder arts ambassador program.  Classes will be held at the Maplewood Senior Center on Wednesdays in July from 2 - 4 pm.  You can sign up for individual class(es) or all 4.  Space is limited to 15 students per class, so if you are interested, reserve your space by calling 973-763-0750.  Schedule is as follows:

July 5th Collage

July 12th Painting

July 19th Drawing

July 26th Quilling

South Orange has had a senior discount card good at participating local merchants for quite some time now. This card - the Classic Card - is now coming to Maplewood.  Applications are being accepted in person at town hall or by phone or email query.  To be eligible, an applicant must be over the age of 65 and a Maplewood [or South Orange] resident.  Eligibility will be verified at Town Hall for Maplewood residents and at the South Orange Municipal Offices for South Orange residents.  If you qualify and have already applied for the card, you should be receiving a temporary card within the next few days.  (These are going out in the mail today.)  A listing of local businesses which are offering discounts and/or special offers to card holders is now being prepared and will be made available to card holders.  Additional businesses are still being contacted. Expect the list to grow.  

Of special, timely interest is the offer by the 4th of July Committee in Maplewood to offer a 50% discount on general admission to persons who are either holders of the card or apply for the card at one of the gates upon entrance.  If you are applying for the card on the 4th and want the offered discount, please bring proof of age and current residence with you since this this may be asked for a time of application.  Questions regarding this offer should be directed to a member of the 4th of July Committee or you can ask them here and I will forward the query to a Committee member.

Real progress is being made in the area of Senior transportation.  The Mayor of Maplewood and the Village President of South Orange have agreed to work together on a shared service that would expand senior transportation offerings to residents of both towns.  More details will be posted here as they become available.

I just received the following e-mail regarding the 4th of July Celebration being held in Maplewood:

"Dear Maplewood and South Orange residents:

 I am pleased to let you know that the Fourth of July Committee has gone all-out to make the day

age-friendly.  In addition to many events, music and food vendors: 

•             Seniors with a Classic Card or who apply for one at entry will get half-price tickets.

•             Golf cart service from Baker Street drop-off point to points within the park

•             Enjoy the day at the hospitality tent

•             Enjoy lawn games, board games

•             Access to the air-conditioned Civic House (near tennis courts) restrooms and  games

•             Come compete in the baking contest (or come get samples of the entries). Entries need to be at contest tent between 9:00 & 9:30am.

 Transportation options:

South Orange residents – Jitney transportation provided from SOPAC parking lot to Memorial Park 10am-10pm.

 Maplewood Seniors – The regular Senior Bus will be available between 9am and 5pm.  Call 973)%20763-0750" value="+19737630750" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">(973) 763-0750 to schedule a pick up by noon on Monday, July 3.  Pick-up service starts on the hour, return service from Baker St. entrance on the half hour.

Parking for Disabled Persons 3 locations: Dunnell St between Oakland Rd and Oakview Ave; Baker St. near Baker Entrance Gate; and parking lot behind Town Hall on Valley St.

 Happy Independence Day!

 Cathy Rowe , Coordinator

The regular Senior Bus will be available between 9 am and 5 pm on July 4th to transport seniors to and from the 4th of July Celebration.  Call 973-763-0750 to schedule a pick up.  Be sure to indicate the time you would like to be picked up and where in Maplewood you live.  Call must be placed by noon on Monday, July 3.  Pick up route will start on the hour beginning at 9:00 am.  Last route to Memorial Park will begin at 4 pm.  Actual time the bus will get to you depends on number and location of other persons requesting bus service for the same trip.  Bus will drop passengers at the Baker Gate, which is serving as the drop off point for the event.  For the mobility challenged, golf carts will be available at the Baker gate to transport you to locations throughout the park.  Bus will return from Baker Gate every hour on the half hour beginning at 9:30 am.  Last departure will be at 4:30 pm.  Call the above phone number for more information.

Tickets for the Maplewood Seniors Picnic are now available at the DeHart Community Center.

Date: September 6, 2017 (rain date September 7)

Time:  Noon

Location:  Maplewood Pool

Cost: $8.

You do not have to be a pool member to attend.

Update on the Classic Card:  Cards will not be available in time for July 4th Celebration.  A list of names of those who have applied will be at each gate.  If your name is on the list, you will receive the discount on general admission.  If you have not applied and meet the qualification requirements - Maplewood resident age 65 or older - you can apply at the gate and still receive the discount.

Just posted on Senior Share page on Facebook:  Cost of the Lifetime Senior Pass from the National Park Service goes up on August 1, 2017 from $10 to $80.  If you meet the age requirement and you don't already have a Lifetime Senior Pass, now is the time to get it.  Edison Museum in West Orange carries them.

Date has now been extended to August 28th:

Starting August 28th, the price for the Lifetime Senior pass is increasing to $80. All previously purchased Senior and Golden Age passes will still be honored. Visit for more information.

This morning I attended a meeting of representatives from Maplewood
and South Orange to  (a) share information about existing senior bus
services in our two towns; (b) discuss ways in which senior bus
ridership could be enhanced and increased; and (c) discuss ways in
which the two towns could work together to improve services on offer.
No decisions were reached since this was primarily designed as a brain
storming session.  The enthusiasm and spirit of cooperation were most
encouraging.  Developing a share or coordinated service in the near
future seems very likely.

Please post any comments, suggestions, questions about Senior Bus Service in Maplewood or South Orange here so we can start a dialog.  This is a dynamic process.  Any input is very welcome at this time.  SOMA Two Towns For All Ages is in the process of developing a needs assessment questionnaire to determine what changes are needed to this service.  I will post more information as soon as the questionnaire is available.

I just received the following email from SOMA Two Towns For All Ages.

The classic cards are in and will be distributed soon.  The following businesses in Maplewood have already signed up to offer a discount or special offer to Maplewood and South Orange residents 65 or over who have and present the card at time of purchase.  

·         Abril Cocina

·         Astah's Fine Art Gallery & Framing

·         Bee & Thistle Gifts & Antiques

·         Dobrosky Opticians

·         Express Yourself Studios

·         General Moving Carriers, L.L.C.

·         Homeowners Hub

·         Hopscotch

·         Jerry Rose Florist

·         Lickt

·         Lotus Petals Floral Design, LLC

·         Maplewood Grille

·         Our Gang Travel

·         Perch Home

·         ProElite Nutrition

·         Retail Therapy

·         Shenanigans

·         The Framing Mill

·         Thomson Blueprints for Living, LLC

·         Truly Yours

·         Village Coffee

·         West Village Clothing

If you qualify, have not already applied for a classic card, and would like to do so, please contact Cathy Rowe.  You can reach her through either Maplewood Town Hall  or The South Orange Municipal Offices.  If you have a local business or know of a local business that would like to participate in this program, please post here or PM with business name, location, and contact information. 


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