Frequently, we talk about aging in place and our aging parent’s desire to remain at home. As Baby Boomers march toward their retirement years in record numbers, their neighborhoods may be aging with them. Approximately 10,000 Boomers are reaching senior status every day and their neighborhoods and shopping areas are mirroring the aging trend.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) are neighborhoods where a high percentage of residents have elected to stay in their own homes and age in place. Typically, these are neighborhoods where residents have lived for decades but they were not designed as senior communities. Residents opt to stay in their familiar neighborhood with familiar roads, established shopping areas, and accessible medical care.
What makes a NORC a successful aging in place option?
- The ability to deliver targeted health and supportive services to residents in a cost-effective manner.
- The ability to increase senior-related services to meet the needs of the residents.
- The ability to organize cooperative health events and promotions.
- The ability to provide crisis prevention programs.
- The ability to provide community improvement initiatives such as pedestrian-friendly retail zones, adult day care centers and other services that meet the needs of an aging population.
In many ways, our own homes may offer a version of Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities as we work to support our senior loved ones by offering social outings, transportation to medical appointments, and the support of an extended family. Family caregivers are very intuitive about the needs of the loved ones they care on a daily basis.
Ingenuity, flexibility, and a multi-dimensional approach to problem solving are just a few of the trademarks that family caregivers share and one of many skills that help them in building their own NORC!
For more information about a NORC in your area, please visit the Area Agency on Aging website.
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