Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities


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Most seniors don’t really want to pull up roots and move into a retirement community, leaving behind friends and familiar routines. Moving is expensive, and the fees associated with enhanced services for seniors offered by many communities can be prohibitive.

“The latest income data show the median income for households headed by people over 65 is about $48,500,” says Dr. Steven Huberman, founding dean of Touro College Graduate School of Social Work in New York City. That would put just 8.7 percent of seniors below the poverty line, he says, but the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of health care and other basic necessities, pushes that figure to 15.1 percent.

“And with the ongoing impact of the Great Recession, more seniors are having trouble just making ends meet,” he adds.

However, it’s not just the cash-strapped who want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. A 2011 study suggests that 90 percent of adults want to age in place.

A comprehensive community-based service model called NORCs — for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities — helps make that dream possible by creating a network of service providers, housing providers and other stakeholders to promote older adults’ health, well-being, social relationships and ability to age in place.

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