Although many retirement communities are constructed after thorough planning, it is not the only way for such a community to develop.
The term “retirement community” usually refers to a neighborhood or apartment complex that was designed for seniors, and may be restricted to residents above a certain age, such as 55. Large developments of this kind have proliferated across the Sun Belt and elsewhere, offering a variety of activities and services to seniors. At the same time, other neighborhoods underwent an unintended demographic shift over time, until the majority of residents were seniors. These naturally-occurring retirement communities (NORCs) can qualify retroactively for funding for seniors’ support services, while providing the generational diversity that some older people prefer.
Many seniors want to live in a neighborhood where they can meet people their own age and take advantage of services and activities that are geared toward their needs, but they also want to live in a diverse area where children and young people may not be next door, but are not miles away either. Sometimes these communities occur naturally, as people age in place or as more older people move in. In addition, some developers are now mimicking NORCs by building small retirement enclaves in generationally diverse areas, an alternative to sprawling retirement communities where thousands of seniors may live separately from young people.
NORC is a term that has been in use since 1986 and is recognized by all levels of government. In New York, once a community meets certain criteria regarding the size of the population of older people, funding may be available from local, state or federal government agencies to provide services such as health care, social services and recreational activities. There are currently 27 recognized NORCs in New York City alone, and with the large baby boom generation aging, the number of these retirement communities can only be expected to grow.
Learn more about retirement communities and other options for seniors at www.elderlawnewyork.com.
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