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Senator Jim Holzapfel

Senator Jim Holzapfel

Holzapfel, Allen Bill to Protect Seniors in Assisted Living Advanced by Senate Panel

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-Ocean) and Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) to protect senior citizens in assisted living facilities was advanced by the Senate Health Committee.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Sen. Diane Allen to protect seniors in assisted living was advanced by a Senate panel. (SenateNJ.com)

“When families put their loved ones in the care of a nursing home or other assited living facility, they expect that they’ll be treated properly and with respect,” Senator Holzapfel said. “If an employee of one of these homes even has the slightest suspicion that something might be awry, it should be their duty to report it.”

The legislation, S-1219, known as “Peggy’s Law,” requires any caretaker, social worker, physician, nurse or other staff member of a care facility who has reasonable cause to suspect that an elderly person is being abused or exploited, they must report it to local law enforcement. It also requires them to report such incidents to the Ombudsman of the Institutionalized Elderly within certain periods of time depending on the kind of abuse.

The law is named after Peggy Marzola, a 93-year-old Brick woman was taken to the hospital after her nursing home said she slipped on some powder. Marzola’s daughter didn’t believe this explanation and later started a campaign to stiffen state laws against elder abuse.

“Employees have to be the first line of defense against abuse,” Senator Allen said. “They see their residents every day, and they will know when something isn’t right.”

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