40:23-6.38. Legislative intent
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(a) There are nearly 700,000 people over the age of 65 in this State, and that these citizens, now numbering almost 10% of the State's population, are of special concern because their numbers are growing faster than the rest of the population and because, increasingly there is no room for them in the labor market.
(b) During the last century life expectancy has been lengthened by 20 years. Since 1900 the total population of New Jersey has doubled but our senior population has quadrupled. With the lengthening of life expectancy has come the impact of technology which permits earlier retirement and makes employment opportunities unavailable for much of the older population.
(c) The result of these changes is that many older people are socially isolated and economically deprived. Lack of preparation for changed family relationships and social situations create crises for which assistance is not readily available. Many such crises can be averted if the problems of aging are anticipated and made the subject of prior planning.
(d) A central place is needed, therefore, where older citizens facing such situations can turn for assistance through information on community resources. Those who need such information vary from the middle-aged unemployed to the recent retiree and the helpless aged, from the affluent to the very poor, from the rural citizen to the urban and suburban resident, from the learned to the uneducated.
(e) Efforts to avert crises among this expanding segment of the population must have two major goals; the development of an understanding of the nature of aging so that people may grow old with dignity and independence; and, the ready identification and availability of community resources for older people, to whom they are often inaccessible or nonexistent. These resources need to be identified, expanded and made more immediately available to those who need them.
(f) While the Government of the State of New Jersey has recognized some of its special responsibilities in this area by creating the State Division on Aging, it has become apparent that this agency will function more effectively by providing a means by which it can achieve a closer relationship with the people it seeks to help, and through which it can increase access to desirable programs.
(g) It is apparent, therefore, that channels for the distribution of information on the resources available to older people, should be established throughout the State so as to be conveniently available to all segments of our older population, and that they should be maintained by county governments.
L.1970, c. 248, s. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1971.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016