‘Pure’ Retirement Communities: An Thought That Works

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Some retirement communities are deliberate, others simply occur. The latter are typically referred to by city planners as NORCs – “naturally occurring retirement communities.” They’ve emerged as a gorgeous means for seniors to age efficiently of their houses by tapping into neighborhood assist providers and volunteer applications.

It’s estimated that there are literally thousands of these naturally occurring retirement communities throughout the US, and that roughly 27 % of our senior residents stay in them. So what are NORCs?


These are communities or neighborhoods the place residents have lived and aged collectively lengthy sufficient for a naturally occurring retirement neighborhood to evolve. Residents have both aged in place by dwelling of their houses for a number of many years, or older adults have migrated into the identical neighborhood the place they intend to spend the remainder of their lives.

NORC is a demographic time period used to explain a neighborhood not initially designed for seniors, however one which has grown naturally to have 40 to 65% of its residents over age 60. These communities have been initially constructed for younger adults and have been by no means meant to fulfill the actual Health and social service wants of seniors.

The time period NORC was first coined within the 1980’s by Michael Hunt, a professor of city planning. NORCs have been initially recognized in city settings, however at the moment are present in all geographic areas. They’re normally small by design and span just a few sq. miles with a base of 1000 to 3000 individuals. They are often as small as a metropolis house constructing or as massive as a suburban neighborhood with single household houses.

NORCs might be categorized into three varieties:

  • Basic NORC: It is a single age-integrated house constructing, a housing complicated with a number of buildings below frequent administration or numerous house buildings clustered collectively.
  • Neighborhood-Based mostly NORC: That is an age-integrated neighborhood of one- and two-family houses.
  • Rural NORC: It is a massive geographic space with a low inhabitants density, usually comprised of one-and two-family houses.


NORCs are privately developed and managed, and comparatively new, so there isn’t a centralized itemizing of applications. One of the best place to search out data on NORCs is on-line. Listed beneath are just a few good sources to assist in figuring out if there’s an current mannequin that fits your neighborhood:

Every NORC is completely different and focuses on native wants and particular person communities. Funding, staffing and providers ought to mirror a particular neighborhood and the employees might encompass full-time and part-time staff and quite a few volunteers. NORCs could also be largely supported by member dues of $500 or extra per yr or seniors might pay little or nothing, with the majority of the assist coming from native foundations, charity-supported companies and authorities funds. The important thing requirement is a wholesome combine of personal and public funds.

Seniors ought to play a central function within the improvement of the NORC program. They’re shoppers with various wants and pursuits, and residents with a wealthy community of relationships, information and experience. Efficient applications will allow seniors to tackle new roles of their communities as leaders and challenge builders. There’s the evolving realization by massive numbers of seniors that their participation is required within the constructing of their later lives. Retirement can lengthen 25 to 30 years and with no neighborhood assist system, seniors run the danger of Health challenges and isolation.


Some organizations and native governments have introduced collectively social providers, Health care, transportation and residents to develop a NORC supportive providers program (NORC-SSP). This program receives funding from non-public sector contributions; charitable donations; resident membership or exercise charges; and federal, state, and native grant funding. NORC-SSPs instantly service seniors within the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities and will present:

  • Social work case administration
  • Transportation
  • Psychological Health providers
  • Social and cultural occasions
  • Residence care
  • Bereavement assist
  • Meals
  • Residence restore and upkeep
  • Train courses
  • Persevering with Teaching programs


There’s one other kind of neighborhood that has advanced and could also be confused as a NORC; however based mostly on the concentrated share of seniors required to be known as a NORC, these communities are known as neighborhood villages as an alternative. These communities are grassroots actions offering providers and applications for his or her growing older inhabitants. Some villages present providers and applications for members solely who pay annual membership charges, whereas others cost nothing for providers. Some set a minimal age for membership. All rely closely on neighborhood volunteers. Providers offered could also be:

  • Transportation
  • Social and academic applications
  • Pleasant visits or cellphone calls
  • Help with family repairs and upkeep

Neighborhood villages face fixed challenges with funding, and a few cost annual membership charges. Others search funding from different sources. The primary neighborhood village was organized in Boston, Massachusetts in 2001 and is known as the Beacon Hill Village.


Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities are the brand new various for growing older in place within the neighborhood the place you raised your loved ones and made lifelong mates. Choices for organizing this sort of neighborhood could appear overwhelming and sophisticated, however the underlying precept is simplicity: neighbors caring for neighbors in a close-knit neighborhood.

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