The following is from SOMA Two Towns for All Ages:
The SOMA Two towns for all ages program is a new initiative for South Orange and Maplewood. Our goal is to help our towns be more age-friendly by helping people age in place, stay in their homes and our community as long as they can, and increase access to community events. One of the highlights of our two towns are the neighborhood block parties – the events that bring neighbors out to meet, mix and catch up. When planning your block party, please consider the following suggestions to make your event age-friendly for all neighbors:
- Many older residents don’t use email on a regular basis, so please give them a flyer, call or stop by and invite them personally.
- Make sure you have adequate seating, so older neighbors don’t have to stand too long, and don’t have to carry their own chairs to the party.
- Include your older neighbors in block party planning – they may have lived on your street for years and have interesting stories to share, photos of the neighborhood or memories of who used to live in your house.
- Depending on your plans for food (potluck, catered, etc.), consider a heart healthy option – what is good for seniors is good for all. Older residents have great recipes and may be interested to help cook or plan the menu.
- If you have music, set up some seats behind the speakers or in a quieter area, and play a variety of music.
- Having a contest for the kids? Your older neighbors would be experienced and neutral judges.
- If it is hot out, provide umbrellas/shade and plenty of water. Again, what’s good for seniors is good for all.
- Use name tags.
- Make a directory with contact information for everybody to keep in touch.
If you have questions about how to make your block party more accessible for older neighbors, or suggestions that you would like to share, please contact Cathy Rowe at (973) 558-0863 or [email protected]
Thank you for considering how to make your block party age-friendly and have a great time!