What is a NORC?

I think I’ll live in a NORC one day. NORC is an acronym for “Naturally occurring retirement community”.  As baby boomers age these communities are going to happen.


The first time I heard the term “NORC” was a couple of years ago at the West 7th Community Center.  I had to stop the meeting and ask for a definition.  NORC is an acronym for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.

NORCs are very real estate related and they are not planned communities. Rather, they evolve as people:

  • Age in place. Many communities house residents who raised families there decades ago and never left. They strongly wish to continue living in their homes of long standing.
  • Move into the community. A pattern of in-migration often brings seniors into age-integrated communities, typically in urban centers, where the seniors have access to amenities, culture, and other activities.
  • Move out of the community. Out-migration, typically reflecting the departure of younger residents from rural areas, leaves sizable populations of older residents behind.

The challenges going forward are to provide services for seniors in these communities and some seniors who plan to age in place are not currently in senior-friendly homes.  The elderly woman who can no longer do her own laundry because she can not manage the basement stairs is going to need some assistance.  Some 0f the homes are too large for one or two seniors and cost too much to heat.

Most younger home buyers do not think about aging and they never assume that the first home they will buy will be the last but it works out that way fairly often.   I have many neighbors who are in their 70’s and 80’s who have lived in my neighborhood for fifty years and have raised their children here. Heck, some of those children purchased homes in the same area and live close by.

If you are a younger senior citizen and by that, I mean someone under 70 years old there are volunteer opportunities available for you.  your church or community center needs your help with the programs like Meals on Wheels that serve the oldest people in our communities.

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