Aging in place has its definite advantages. It grants seniors more
specialized care and privacy than might an institutional setting. However, it
also brings a tough question in its wake. How can seniors enjoy the
independence and comfort staying in their residence might offer than without
their safety being compromised?
Well, it now appears that the most appropriate arrangement might not be one that arrives on the scene pre-fabricated, jumps off somebody’s drawing board or is devised through
academic musings. Rather, it might be one that simply evolves naturally: a natural occurring community (NORC).
These are neighborhoods that have a disproportionately large number of seniors. They might have moved there to join others in their age demographic. Or, they might simply be aging in place within a community they have called home literally for decades. In either case, social workers have determined that NORCs can become nurturing places for the elderly particularly if they are bathed in social, medical and other services.
Taking all of this into account, The Jewish Federation of North America has established a model – NORC SSP (supportive services program) – which has been replicated throughout the country.
Practicality is often the name of the game as support is delivered to seniors. Terms such as
“environmental improvements” are given a very broad definition. They might, for
example, include installing safety equipment in a residence to prevent falls.
Legal and financial advice is provided, even though these matters are not
always brought into a mix of social services.
It would be interesting to research if introducing (monitoring) technology such as that
marketed by Grandcare Systems into NORCs bwould serve to make elders safer. Would it make it possible for more elders to age in place within a nurturing community?
For more inforamtion read Rounding the Circle of Love: Growing Up As She Grows Old which can be purchased at http://amazon.com