BRICK TOWNSHIP — On Monday, July 7, Maureen Persi claimed a victory in her fight to strengthen laws against elder abuse. After years of effort on the part of Mrs. Persi, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law S-1219, known as Peggy’s Law. While the law can’t bring back her mother, Peggy Marzolla, through her tireless efforts Ms. Persi ensured that another institutionalized elder would not endure the same suffering that Peggy did. Mrs. Marzolla, 93, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, died Aug. 4, 2010 after living for 21 months in an adult care facility in Brick Township, during which time she sustained several serious injuries. “What happened to her should never happen to any elder in New Jersey,” Mrs. Persi said. Her mother’s death ignited a fire within Mrs. Persi, fueling her fight to stiffen laws against elder abuse. Under the new legislation, any caretaker, social worker, physician, nurse or staff member of a care facility who has reasonable cause to suspect that an institutionalized elderly person is being abused or exploited to report their concerns to local law enforcement. The law also requires reporting of incidents to the Ombudsman of the Institutionalized Elderly within certain periods of time depending on the type of abuse.
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