NJAAW News and Resources
May 1, 2024
Happy Older Americans Month
Every year, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the observance of Older Americans Month (OAM) in May.

Older Americans Month is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of older adults and celebrating of all we can learn from their experiences.
The theme for 2024 is Powered by Connection, which recognizes the profound impact that meaningful relationships and social connections have on our health and well-being. Explore the vital role that connectedness plays in supporting independence and aging in place by combatting isolation, loneliness, and other issues.
OAM Kick Off Event
TODAY - May 1, at Noon
‘I'm Part of Something that Matters’:
Exploring What Older Adults Value through their Engagement in Age-Friendly Community Initiatives

Co-Hosted by: The Rutgers Hub for Aging Collaboration & The Rutgers Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI-RU)

The Age-Friendly Research Team at the Rutgers Hub for Aging Collaboration conducted interviews with 23 older adults across four states to explore what older adults value in their age-friendly work. Kick off Older Americans Month by joining us for this discussion of what being part of an age-friendly community initiative can mean for older adults. Register here: go.rutgers.edu/OAM2024
2024 Conference - Dare to Envision
Friday, May 17
Look who's going to be there:
We are 2 weeks and 2 days away from Dare to Envision and we want to share our schedule for the day:
Morning Keynote - Deputy Commissioner of NJ Department of Human Services, Kaylee McGuire

Senior Center pre-meet at 8:30

Morning breakout sessions:
  • Innovative Approaches to Support Older Adults at Home
  • Below the Surface documentary
  • Higher Ed in Aging
  • Older LGBTQ+ Adults
  • Reinventing Mobility: TNCs and the Changing Face of Transportation

Lunch Speaker: Ashton Applewhite - book signing to follow

Afternoon breakout sessions:
  • Innovative Approaches to Support Older Adults at Home
  • Below the Surface 
  • Higher Ed in Aging
  • Older LGBTQ+ Adults
  • Age Friendly Public Health
With plenty of time to meet our exhibitors, network, share ideas and meet the people you know so well on Zoom but have never met in 3D.
Aging Insights
The Conversation of Your Life
You can’t always predict when a medical emergency or serious illness will happen and the impact it will have. However, you can prepare ahead for these events by sharing your wishes by talking about what in life matters most to you and finding someone you trust who can speak for you about what care you would want if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Join us as we explore the Conversation of Your Life (COYL) with New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s Katie Bisaha. COYL is a statewide program that provides education and resources on how to share your wishes for care and what you need to know about picking a health care proxy.
This and all Aging Insights episodes are available for viewing, sharing and forwarding through our website njaaw.org/aging-insights/
Age-Friendly Movement in NJ
Smart Kids and Cool Seniors
The Smart Kids and Cool Seniors project, a collaboration between community stakeholders in Elizabeth, NJ, and researchers at Rutgers University is a unique intergenerational program.

This community engagement process brings youth and seniors together around the common goals of reducing seniors’ environmental vulnerabilities and increasing children’s’ exposure to STEM knowledge.

See the video for this exciting, intergenerational program here: Smart Kids Cool Seniors
Improving Public Health and Making Communities Age-Friendly
Separate Missions but Similar Goals
Creating environments for healthy aging is the bedrock of age-friendly community work.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that efforts to strengthen New Jersey’s public health system intersect in many ways with efforts to seed and sustain age-friendly community initiatives in the Garden State.
Even the aspirational symbols look the same, points out Shannon Doherty Lyons, one of the leaders of the Generations for Garfield age-friendly initiative and a senior fellow in the New York University Aging Incubator program.
In public health circles, much emphasis is now placed on what’s called the “social determinants of health,” which are often depicted in a wheel image. In age-friendly circles, the talk is of the “eight domains of livability,” which AARP also illustrates in a wheel-shaped graphic.
“Put the wheel of the social determinants of health next to the wheel of age-friendly domains, and many of the words and phrases are the same – housing, transportation, neighborhood and built environment, social and community connections,” Doherty Lyons said. “We’re focusing on a lot of the same factors.”

To read the full blog, click here
Figuring out Retirement Together
From SOMA Two Towns for All Ages Coordinators, Amy Stuart and Kristen Tyler:

A few months ago, we were approached by a resident wondering if there was anything in place for newly retired residents. We discussed topics like “How do I meet people going through what I am going through, what are my next steps…volunteering, socializing, travel, finances, downsizing”.  Some of the feelings he expressed were ones of excitement, liberation, but also feeling a little terrified.

We jumped on the opportunity to help in the formation of FORT (Figuring Out Retirement Together). SOMA Two Towns for All Ages is an Age Friendly community and this was right in our wheelhouse. One of the goals of Age Friendly is to provide services and support to allow people to age in place. How could we help these recently, or soon to be retired residents navigate this next stage of life? We secured a monthly meeting place and helped with getting the word out. The first meeting was attended by over 40 residents where a financial planner discussed some of the most important documents we need in place as we age.  The group sent out a survey polling interested participants to find out what people were looking for.

Fast forward three months and there are over 150 people on the mailing list. This month there will be a hike at a local reservation and a meeting focusing on downsizing, rightsizing or simply paring down. The meetings are in the evening and incorporate plenty of time for people to mingle and socialize. The group has also started their own newsletter; The FORT Report. Our belief is that this group will continue to grow as people explore their interests, make connections and build new friendships, we look forward to seeing its continued evolution and are proud to be a part of it.
Brain Health Awareness Event
June 3, 10am
June is Brain Health Awareness Month and we invite you to join Dr. St. Rachel Ustanny, Director of Programs, Alzheimer's Association, Greater NJ Chapter, for an awareness session about Alzheimer's and other dementias.

We will discuss the impact Alzheimer's and dementia have nationally, within NJ, and in disproportionately affected communities. Dr. Ustanny will also talk about mainstreaming Alzheimer's and dementia into age-friendly communities.This event is free but please register here: Register
The New Jersey Division of Aging Services will be offering the following Participant Workshops / Program Trainings for 2024. For more information, please contact Andrew Biederman at 609-438-4797 or Heather Taylor at 609-438-4798.
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: June 4th – July 9th. 10:00 AM-12:30 PM.
  • Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers: September 11th – November 6th.10:30 AM-12:00 PM.
  • HealthEASE Education Program: Fall 2024 (Dates TBD).
*All Workshops at: Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC).100 Technology Way, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054. Registration required. Registration must be completed through the Life Program at RCBC.

  • Project Healthy Bones Northern Regional Training: Morris County. June 13th–14th, 9:30 AM-3:00 PM. Located at NORWESCAP (Marion E. Sally Resident’s Center), 23 Clyde Potts Drive, Morristown, NJ 07960.
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) with Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) Cross-Training: Mercer County. July 22nd–29th (CDSMP: July 22-25 + DSMP: July 26+29). 9:30 AM-4:00 PM. Located at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 350 Whitehorse Avenue, Hamilton, NJ 08610.
  • HealthEASE Northern Regional Training: Somerset County. August 22nd, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM. Located at Somerset County Department of Health, 27 Warren Street, Somerville, NJ 08876.
  • HealthEASE Southern Regional Training: Atlantic County. August 2024 – Location and Date TBD.
  • Project Healthy Bones Central Regional Training: Mercer County. September 19th–20th, 9:30 AM-3:00 PM. Located at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 350 Whitehorse Avenue, Hamilton, NJ 08610.
*Registration required for all trainings – Andrew.Biederman@dhs.nj.gov or Heather.Taylor@dhs.nj.gov
Energy Assistance Days
South Jersey Gas is holding a series of community outreach events in May and June that provide a one stop shop for customers who are facing service:
May 7, 14, 20
June 3 & 4
See flyer for locations, times and documentation needed: Flyer
Professional Development
LGBTQI+ Older Adults and Older Adults Living with HIV - Asynchronous Workshop
Monmouth University's School of Social Work offers the LGBTQI+ Older Adults and Older Adults Living with HIV workshop, a 3-hour self-paced course designed to help providers learn about the NJ LGBTQI+ Senior Bill of Rights and cover applicable content. The course is comprised of six modules, each is approximately 30 minutes in length and was developed by five experts in the field. To learn more, click here
 Please alert your networks:
New Text Message Scam Targeting New Jersey Residents
Fraudulent operators are sending text messages to some residents requesting payment for unpaid road tolls. If you receive a text claiming you owe an unpaid toll, do not click on any links or provide personal information. Visit the NJCCIC website for additional guidance: NJCCIC
Shaping A Social Isolation Strategy For Older Adults
The rising rates of social isolation and loneliness for older adults and the impact they have on health is now recognized as an epidemic. In January, 2024, the Center for Healthy Aging at The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) hosted more than 70 participants, both in person and virtually, from across the United States to discuss collaborative action that will improve the care of older adults by addressing social isolation and loneliness. See their recently published a report, by clicking here
New & Noteworthy
New Jersey Selected to Receive Technical Aassistance Support from the Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center.
New Jersey was selected to receive technical assistance support from the Direct Care Workforce Strategies Center. As a co-leader of the Essential Jobs Essential Care Coalition, we are excited by the opportunity this brings to NJ for additional resources and expertise in the state’s efforts to strengthen the direct care workforce. I also want to thank the Department of Human Services, the Division of Aging Services and the other NJ agencies involved for taking on this important work.

New Jersey is among 20 states that will join two technical assistance programs to help better recruit, train, and retain direct care workers, who provide home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities.

For more on this, click here: Press release
New Jersey’s Mental Health Urgency in Older Adults
As attention to mental health services continues to grow in New Jersey, the needs of older adults are absent. Rutgers Student Intern, Audrey Meng, researched the current situation and asks for the mental health of older adults to be included:

"People don’t mind getting old. People mind feeling old. There has been attention brought to the care of older adults and their mental well-being recognizing the effects of social isolation and the impact of COVID. But COVID was not the start, source, or end of mental health needs for older adults."

Continue reading: here
Support NJAAW
Is our information useful to you? Then please consider a financial contribution today. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, New Jersey Advocates for Aging Well relies on foundation grants and other donations to fund our work. We welcome your support, your suggestions and your input for advocating for NJ's oldest residents as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and strategize for the next 25 years..