A Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, or NORC, is a neighborhood in which a larger than average population of older adults lives. Being designated a NORC means giving these residents the opportunity to “age in place” – that is, to live in their homes as they get older. We have found that older adults prefer to be in their own homes and the neighborhoods with which they are familiar and where they have been actively engaged, rather than senior retirement residences. NORC provide services that are consumer driven, cost-effective and the result of collaborations with community partners to address unmet needs and ensure services are not duplicated. As Atlanta’s older adult population grows over the coming years – and is expected to double by mid-decade – NORCs will become even more important.
How Do NORCs Help Our Older Community?
The biggest benefit, obviously, is the assistance they provide that enhances the older adult’s ability to stay at home as long as possible. But NORCS also provide social opportunities as well as the chance to participate in health, education, art, fitness and other programs. In addition, as funding permits, residents receive vouchers and cost reductions for such basic needs as transportation, eye glasses and hearing aids.
How Do I find a NORC for myself or my aging parents?
Several states, including New York, have one or more NORCs. Here in Georgia, JF&CS’ Aviv Older Adult Services provides project oversight for five NORCs, including three in Metro Atlanta, one in South Georgia and one in Savannah.