NORCs: Retirement Community of the Future?

NewImageWhile naturally-occurring retirement communities (NORCs) have been around for decades, baby boomers are starting to choose these arangments more and more.

Finding hard numbers about exactly how many are using NORCs is hard to find, but a survey from AARP found about one in three Americans over 50 lives in a community that could qualify.

“The aging population will likely lead to a rapid increase in the number of NORCs in the coming years,” says John Migliaccio, the director of research for the MetLife Mature Market Institute.


As the depressed housing market has left many boomers unable to sell their homes, more than three out of four people 45 and older say they have a strong desire to stay in their home for as long as possible, a 2010 AARP study found.  To meet the needs of this group of older Americans, two paths for getting lower-cost services for aging residents have emerged according to Smart Money.

The first is to get funding from the government or a nonprofit for a “NORC supportive services program,” which provides low-cost or free health, social and educational services to residents. These programs, which often require a community “match” such as funding or resources from a local hospital or housing company, were created to help provide preventive health care and wellness services to residents who might have a hard time paying for or accessing these kinds of services on their own, says Fredda Vladeck, the director of the aging in place initiative at the United Hospital Fund and one of the founders of NORC programs. The second is to collect membership dues from other residents to pay for services the community wants — anything from a concierge service to a group-rate at the dry cleaners — in what’s called the “villages concept.”

The Stealth Retirement Community