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Senator Karcher Legislation Improving Quality Of Life For Seniors Is Signed Into Law

Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, Vice Chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, listens to testimony before her panel.

TINTON FALLS – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Ellen Karcher (D-Monmouth and Mercer) that requires that a member of a continuing care retirement community be a member of the facility’s governing body and take part in discussions of certain subjects with residents’ representatives was signed into law today at a ceremony at Seabrook Village retirement community.

“Senior’s deserve to live with dignity and respect,” said Karcher. “Ensuring that residents living in retirement communities have a voice on their local governing board is critical to insure that their concerns are adequately heard and addressed. I am proud to sponsor this legislation, and I will continue to work to improve the quality of life for all seniors.”

Under the new law:

• The designated representative of the board of directors or other governing body of a continuing care facility, who is required under current law to hold quarterly meetings with the residents or their elected representatives, may not be the chief executive officer or other staff member of the continuing care facility.

• Except for confidential personnel matters, any questions concerning subjects such as income, expenditures and financial matters as they apply to the facility and proposed changes in policies, programs and services may be raised at the quarterly meeting and are to be answered or explained promptly when possible, or within a reasonable period of time.

• The board of directors or other governing body is required to consult and discuss with the representatives of the residents any proposed action that might significantly affect the residents’ well-being or the financial stability of the facility, before taking the proposed action.

• The board of directors or other governing body is to include at least one resident as a full voting member, who is to be nominated by the elected representatives of the residents and selected by the board of directors or other governing body.

The bill also amends the Continuing Care Advisory Council to provide that three of the members who are residents of continuing care retirement communities are to be recommended by the Organization of Residents Associations of New Jersey. In addition, the size of the council will be reduced from 17 to 13 members.

Prior to this legislation, seniors across New Jersey were essentially disenfranchised when it came to retirement community associations, and the decisions made that impacted the lives of residents living there.

“With this new law in place, retirement communities around the Garden State will be able to take advantage of the diversity and wisdom of residents living there,” said Karcher. “This is a great win for seniors in New Jersey, and I am proud to have been able to work with community leaders to make this law a reality.”

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