Unplanned Retirement Communities Will Become More Common As More Older Adults Age In Place

Smaller, less-dense cities will need to accommodate seniors who stay put

January 18, 2017

The population of Americans 65 and older will double by 2050. They’re not all going to be able to relocate to Florida or Arizona.

Politico reports that more NORCs, or naturally occurring retirement communities, will continue to spring up across the nation as people choose to stay put and age in place.

While big urban centers are better suited for NORCs, smaller, less-dense cities will have their shares of the unplanned communities as well. Politico profiled a group of seniors in Rochester, N.Y., who live in an older building that has challenges with accessibility (it doesn’t have an elevator, for example). The city doesn’t have a good transit system and isn’t very walkable, so the seniors spend money on taxis when they need to get around.

To address problems like these, nonprofit organizations and governments have established NORC programs that concentrate services within a specific geographic area dense with senior citizens. The most common include transportation, social get-togethers, assistance with arranging home health care and housekeeping, and mental health and bereavement counseling. The idea is to meet the needs of seniors where they are, instead of requiring the elderly to overhaul their lives and move to get the help they need.

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