Bill To Create Pilot Program To Benefit Elderly Residents Advanced By Senate Panel

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) to create a pilot program that would provide social, health and mental care services to communities with large elderly populations was released Thursday by a Senate committee.

The bill establishes a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” or “NORC” pilot program in the Division of Aging and Community Services in the Department of Health and Senior Services. Unlike housing built specifically for elderly residents, a NORC is a residential area with a high concentration of elderly residents who are aging in place in their communities.

“Not everyone wants to move into senior housing or an assisted living facility. Many residents would rather stay in their homes, but need additional assistance to maintain their independence as they grow older,” said Gusciora. “This pilot program would allow these residents to stay in their homes and have the type of services they would benefit from in an assisted living facility delivered to them.”

“Our health care needs change as we grow older, but that should not determine where we spend our remaining years, especially if those needs can be met at home,” said Vainieri Huttle. “NORCs allow these residents to receive needed services without having to move from the only community they have known. This is a fitting way to serve an aging population that continues to grow.”

“NORCs provide services meant to keep elderly residents healthy and socially active without having to relocate to senior housing. If this pilot program can help our older residents lead healthy and productive lives in their own homes, then it is worth trying. Growing older does not have to be an impediment to healthy, independent living,” said Watson Coleman.

The housing in a NORC is moderate or low-income housing and differs from senior-designated housing because it was not originally built as housing for the elderly; NORC housing is age-integrated but more than 50 percent of the households are headed by a person 60 years of age or older.

Under the provisions of the bill, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services would provide a grant to a lead agency to establish and coordinate a NORC at a senior center in Mercer County, or one or more moderate or low-income apartment buildings or housing complexes in Mercer County, or within a selected defined community in Mercer County in which at least 50 percent of the households are headed by a person who is 60 years of age or older.

The lead agency would administer the overall fiscal, managerial and programmatic responsibilities of the pilot program and recruit and coordinate the services of program partners.

The pilot program would provide:

· social services, including, but not limited to, on-site assessments, information and referral services, case management, counseling, recreation and socialization programs, management of volunteer programs, support groups, and education programs that help elderly residents preserve their health;

· health care services, including, but not limited to: on-site nursing and physician services; health screenings and monitoring; and medication management;

· mental health services, including, but not limited to: a consulting psychiatrist to assess, diagnose and treat residents and educate other professional staff, patients, caregivers and families to detect and assess mental health needs; and mental health screening by a social worker or registered professional nurse; and

· support services, including, but not limited to, transportation services and assistance with shopping and financial management.

The bill requires the lead agency to periodically report to the commissioner on the establishment of the pilot program and its impact on the well-being of the residents. The commissioner would report to the governor and the Legislature on the pilot program within two years of its implementation and make any recommendations to expand the program to other counties in the state.

The bill provides a $250,000 appropriation from the General Fund to the department to award a grant under the bill.

The bill was released 6-0-2 by the Senate Health, Human Services. TLS.

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  1. Did they forget to mention that the money for this would be paid for by taxpayers like you and me (or your wife and your shver).

    Did they first ask us if we want to pay more income taxes and property taxes and sales taxes to pay for all this?

    No, of course they didn’t ask us. They don’t have to ask us. They are Democrats. They don’t need our votes. All they need are the votes of the people receiving all these “free goodies” from the benevolent Democrats who simply take from those of us who pay taxes.

    Legalized mass theft. Redistribution. The slow, painful destruction of America in front of our very own eyes.

  2. This is not good. The government cannot keep rolling out social welfare programs, and stick taxpayers with the bill. The role of government is to provide for the National Defense.

    Citizens need to provide for themselves. We are Americans!

  3. Thanks Yid and Bill. It helps to see replies with common sense to the continuous socialist agenda. If the liberals dont understand that we will run out of “other peoples money” they should check out Greece.

  4. Please vote Romney. Get your family and friends and neighbors to register, and to VOTE.

    This election will be the deciding election for the future of America. If Obama is reelected, we are going socialist. It will be very difficult to turn the clock back in 2016.

  5. We all know how much you hate the Democrats Yid, but what do you think about the “legislation banning part-time local elected officials from receiving city-issued vehicles in the interest of protecting taxpayers’ dollars”? Seems like a pretty good idea- too bad the Democrats thought of it. Has to be some sort of scam..

  6. to # 5. I expect Yid will answer you himself, but it is clear that what he hates is the bills that come from the democrats in Trenton and Washington which take money from us taxpayers and give it to any group that they expect to vote democratic. Buying votes with our money and taking this country in the direction of Greece. The democrats do have good ideas occaisionally, which are applauded by those of us who work hard to pay taxes.

  7. Funny. I’m not a democrat.

    I care for a senior parent and we attempt to keep her indepenent. I read this with interest wondering what this plan is all about.

    Just something to think about.

Comments are closed.