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Over 1 million in N.J. need help caring for the elderly | Editorial

Times of Trenton
December 5, 2017
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Who cares for the caregivers?

More than 1 million New Jersey residents are part of a vast army of family members and friends who work around the clock, tending to the wellbeing of ill and elderly loved ones who live at home.

They receive no money, and get little time off to recharge their own batteries.

The responsibilities can seem endless, from helping dad bathe and dress every morning to preparing meals to tempt mom's flagging appetite, from navigating a constantly changing medical system to tending to wounds that refuse to heal.

The rewards can be great, not the least of which is knowing your dear one can continue to live at home, rather than in a nursing home or rehab center.

Yet the toll - financial, physical and emotional - can be astronomical.

In addition to lost wages and benefits due to the demands on their time, many in this role feel overwhelmed and anxious. Burn-out is almost inevitable.

But the calculus of care-taking may be changing, as state lawmakers consider ways to ease the burden.

Peggy's Law offers comfort for children of elderly parents | Editorial

On Thursday, the Assembly Health Committee gave thumbs up to a measure that would create a temporary nine-member task force to review ways to make life easier for unpaid individuals providing these vital services.

BREASTFEEDING BILLS WOULD HELP GIVE BABIES A HEALTHY START IN LIFE

NJ Spotlight
DECEMBER 8, 2017
COLLEEN O'DEA
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More good news for moms, a measure that would exempt breast pumps from sales tax, and one that extends civil rights to breastfeeding
breast feeding
Breastfeeding mothers and infants consuming breast milk got support in several ways from New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday with the approval of bills designed to boost their rights, their wallets, and the health of their babies.

“It was a good day for women and their families, for nutrition and good health,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and a co-sponsor of all three measures that were approved without debate by one house or the other.

Several of the bills’ sponsors said the measures are part of the Legislature’s recognition of the benefits of breast milk to infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breast milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in his first six months of life, as well as disease-fighting substances that can protect babies from illness. They want to make it easier, safer, and cheaper for women to feed their children.

One of two bills receiving final legislative passage had drawn some opposition in the past. S-974/A-1442 sets standards for human milk banks looking to operate in the state or donating milk to hospitals here. It cleared the Assembly 73-0.

Who’s caring for NJ’s caregivers?

NJ 101.5 FM
December 6, 2017
Dino Flammia
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Is New Jersey doing all it can to support the state’s estimated 1.75 million unpaid caregivers?

A measure moving through the New Jersey Legislature creates a task force whose main focus would be the individuals providing daily care to family and friends, and never getting reimbursed in the process.

After evaluating the current services available and the true depth of a caregiver’s role, the “New Jersey Caregiver Task Force” would make recommendations for ways to improve and expand assistance.

“There’s a huge toll on the individuals that care for loved ones in their homes,” Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden, told New Jersey 101.5, suggesting this group of individuals has been “largely ignored.”

“I think we’re ill-prepared for the Baby Boomer generation,” she added.

Getting in-home care from family or friends can help an individual avoid the high costs of the state and center-based care, Lampitt noted. But due to the emotional and physical demands of the role, caregivers generally experience more health complications and higher mortality risks than non-caregivers.

The number of adults in the state who need assistance with daily living activities is expected to double by 2020, according to the bill.

N.J. lawmakers push bill allowing sick kids to use medical marijuana oil in school

NJ.com
Susan K. Livio
June 22, 2015
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TRENTON — As the family of a severely ill teenage girl in south Jersey sues for her right to consume medical marijuana oil at school, two state lawmakers Monday introduced a bill that would require school boards to set policies that would allow it to be used in schools across the state.

Parents or a person they designate would be required to come to the school and administer the medical marijuana dose in the form of an edible oil, according to the legislation. No one would be allowed to smoke marijuana on school grounds.

State Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt said she and Assembly Lou Greenwald (both D-Camden) were moved by the Barbours' plight. They also understand the challenge for school officials who fear they may violate federal drug laws by allowing cannabis use on school property.

"We both feel it's going to be a heavy lift," getting the bill passed, Lampitt said. "But when you put a face behind an issue like this, people realize there is a strong need. It's not arbitrary, it's real."

Christie reversal on why he cut Planned Parenthood funding cuts sparks protest

NJ.com
Susan K. Livio
June 22, 2015
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TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie's boast that he is the only governor in New Jersey history to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood may play in conservative states, but it alienates most New Jerseyans who want women to have access to family planning services, protesters said Monday.

Chanting "My health! My life!" about three dozen women and a few men gathered in the Statehouse courtyard with state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden) to draw attention to the governor's remarks last week about cutting $7.5 million in 2010 for women's health centers.

At the time, the governor said the cuts were driven by a budget crisis, adding gynecological services and health screenings could be found at other state-supported facilities. Republicans who supported the money before refused to override the governor's veto based on the financial considerations.

Christie said in 2010 he eliminated the funds as part of a wide array of cuts to close a budget gap. But in speeches to conservative groups in February and again last week, the Republican governor, who is mulling a bid for president, boasted he had "vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget."