SOMA speaker series to focus on needs of older residents

MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — SOMA Two Towns for All Ages recently announced a speaker series focusing on the legal needs and concerns of older residents. Two Towns has joined the Essex Coalition for the Conversation Of Your Life, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, to educate residents about important discussions to have and decisions to make in the event that they cannot speak for themselves. In addition, several local partners will hold events addressing discussions, planning and legal documents that should be considered beyond a will.

Beginning in April, dozens of New Jersey communities will be part of the COYL initiative to inspire and educate people about the value of advance care planning. COYL is part of the Mayors Wellness Campaign, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

“We are doing nothing less than changing the culture in New Jersey around end-of-life care,” said Linda Schwimmer, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “We’re bringing people together for thoughtful conversations that ensure their own end-of-life wishes are honored. And we help people provide the gift of clarity to their loved ones.”

These events are free and open to all, though some do require an RSVP. They are as follows:

  • On Tuesday, May 7, at 11:30 a.m., at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood, attend “Conversation Of Your Life – Personal Values” for a presentation and panel on personal values and medical care. The program will begin with a light lunch, feature a short film and include a panel discussing the importance and strategies for making your wishes clear when you can’t speak for yourself. RSVP to or 973-558-0863.
  • On Wednesday, May 15, at 7 p.m., at the Maplewood Main Library, 51 Baker St., attend “Guardianship: When is the right time?” The program will open with a showing of the documentary short “Edith+Eddie,” followed by a presentation and discussion on understanding how guardianship works in New Jersey — the process, issues and pitfalls.
  • On Tuesday, May 30, at 7 p.m., at the South Orange Public Library, 65 Scotland Road, attend “The Conversation Project.” This program features the Conversation Project Toolkit and role-playing on how to have the emotional but important conversations with your family and friends on your wishes and plans.
  • On Monday, June 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood, attend “Preparation for Aging,” presented by Garden State Equality. Many older adults are aging without a plan in place. Issues around caretaking, power of attorney, wills and other legal issues begin to come up and many older adults are unprepared to tackle these issues. This preparation workshop will help older adults to start thinking about a plan that is tailored to their needs.
  • On Friday, June 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood, attend a SAGE Table dinner and screening of “GenSilent,” presented by Garden State Equality. This event is meant to draw the community closer together, to alleviate the loneliness common to many LGBTQ seniors and to share stories and ideas. This is a space to begin a conversation about how we relate to people across age boundaries. RSVP to or 973-509-5428.