NORC Program Senior Services Restore Communties

Last month, the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) hosted a seminar on a somewhat new phenomenon known as "NORCs." Short for "Naturally Occuring Retirement Communities," the acronym has come to mean much to many seniors throughout the country, particularly New York City, who have been enabled to remain in their homes and communities. The term NORC is a demographic description resulting from a social pattern called ‘aging-in-place,’ says Nat Yalowitz, president and chief executive officer of NORC Supportive Services Center (NORC-SSC), a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to assist housing entities develop senior service programs. He explains, "Many older people who moved into apartment buildings or housing complexes when they were younger now need help to remain living independently in their residences." The NYARM seminar was just one step in an effort to educate the co-op and condo community about this evolving trend toward developing senior services.

The Purpose of NORC Programs

While each individual NORC program will have its own unique combination of services, the basic goals and objective remain the same: to improve the quality of life for senior residents. Services in NORC communities can include anything from increased amounts of social activities to assistance with personal hygiene. The NORC-SSC lists a number of its own objectives for member buildings. Some of these goals are: Improve residents’ access to services and programs by bringing them on site of housing units; Maximize client’s choices and control and promote resident autonomy; Improve the quality of professional services and client protection; Strengthen housing quality ( i.e., safety, security and maintenance); Promote residents’ interaction and sense of community; Prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization; Ensure that services go to those with the greatest need.

Executed successfully, these categorical objectives benefit senior residents, their families, building boards and managers and entire communities. Seniors can obtain the support they need to stay in their buildings longer and they become more active in the community. In essence, NORC programs make for happier and healthier residents.

"Traditionally, senior housing has taken a backseat to the other forms of real estate. This is no longer the case. Recently, there has been a half-dozen stories on the senior housing field in the New York Times alone," says Bob Wisenfeld, publisher of LifeAhead, a newsletter designed to educate individuals about current and new senior housing communities in the Tri-State area. Adding that ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings has also visited the topic, Wisenfeld relates the need for society to understand the current condition of senior housing and services in their communities. It is important for boards and their managers to acknowledge the growing trend of NORCs and to, perhaps, mimic programs established to provide additional services to senior residents.


Related Articles

Board Malfeasance

What to Do if You Suspect Foul Play

Roommates and Boarders in Co-ops

What Are Your Rights?

The Cooperator Events presents: COVID, Communications, & the Law - Practical Advice for Boards & Managers

A Virtual Town Hall Sponsored by Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP



  • I have had the opportunity to provide cleaning services / non medical support to clients in a NORC program in South East Rochester, NY I feel the clients should be screened more another carefully for their need for help in their home. one client as we were cleaning had shared with us how she just returned from Tennessee and she just got done putting her square dancing skirts down stairs in the basement. 1. she can fly 2. she can walk up and down the stairs 3. she can square dance This lady may be aging but she certainly didn't need our service. this same program has a client that needs weekly. she is visibly very sick. she only receives services every other week and is made to pay for the other week. Another client was Baby sitting for Her grand children and at our concern service was stopped. I feel this could be a great program fro all us Baby boomer's but we shouldn't receive maid service. Norc should define need verses a luxury. Maybe more group activities for residents that are shut in and lonely would be beneficial for everyone. EX. movie night, or trash pick up at the door in the winter weather to prevent slipping on the ice. some residents can't walk al the way to the trash area. this should really be a concern.