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SOMA – Two Towns For All Ages
SOMA Age Friendly Iniative Logo.jpg
Catherine Rowe
SOMA Age Friendly Initiative Coordinator

574 Valley St.
Maplewood Township, NJ  07040

Ph: (973) 762-8120 ext. 4005
Fax: (973) 763-4202

Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Our Mission Statement:

To identify, develop and coordinate resources, policies, programs and services

that support and empower all residents of Maplewood and South Orange

to age in place as full members of the community.

Recognizing the increasing number of residents over 60 and the desire to keep long-term residents in our communities, South Orange and Maplewood (SOMA) launched "Two towns for all ages." Under this new initiative, SOMA is taking a proactive approach to foster healthy aging and enable residents to age in place.

This age-friendly initiative engages all stakeholders in the community - government, businesses, schools, non-profits and people of all ages - to build a lifelong community.  To ensure programs and services in our two towns meet these important goals we strive/pledge/commit to:

  • Be responsive to the needs of older residents.
  • Combine the resources and interests of both towns to build a synergistic relationship that promotes and supports healthy aging.
  • Recognize the role older adults play in our communities and their contributions to the fabric of our diverse community.
  • Realize that improvements that benefit the older population also benefit the rest of our community.
  • Ensure older adults engage in the conversation and allow their concerns to be heard and acted upon.

Both towns are committed to the long-term continuity and sustainability of the Two towns for all ages initiative. 

July Events

***Upcoming Events in Maplewood and South Orange (Events are free unless otherwise noted, registration may be required)***

Tips for an Age-friendly Block Party

Dear Neighbors,

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

Thank you for considering how to make your block party age-friendly and have a great time!

574 Valley St.
Maplewood Township, NJ 07040
Hours of Operation 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Ph: (973) 762-8120