Neighborhoods Challenged by “Hidden” Pockets of Seniors

A growing population of seniors have transformed certain residences and neighborhoods into naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs).

While these communities enable seniors to live independently at home, there is a greater demand for community-based services to help this older population age in place. 

A recent census indicates that 22% of Upper West Siders are age 60 or older, compared to the citywide average of 17%, according to an article from the New York Times. 


To address this somewhat “hidden” population of seniors wishing to age in place, some residences have begun implementing their own programs with the help of community organizations.

The New York Times writes:

“One of the earliest examples of a privately run program was created at Lincoln Towers, a cluster of beige brick high-rises in the West 60s that is home to more than 9,000 people in 4,000 apartments.


Project Open, which grew out of the Lincoln Towers tenants association, was born three years later.

With the help of JASA, a social services organization, Project Open tries to meet their needs, emotional as well as physical. One of the most popular events is the Wednesday-night class taught by a retired classics professor, which has up to 50 people reading plays by Aeschylus.

The monthly blood-pressure checks, equally well attended, are administered in Project Open’s office, a cinder-block space outfitted with card tables and folding chairs. 

Though the program is modest, and depends entirely on volunteers, the list of those helped, and those helping, has remained steady since its founding.”

Read the full New York Times article. 

Written by Jason Oliva