Providing Tools to Age in Place
Posted by Matthew Brian Hersh on September 25, 2012
A bill that would establish a program to ensure support services for neighborhoods with high concentrations of seniors cleared a key hurdle in the New Jersey Legislature this week, in a sign that as communities age, more and more residents will need the necessary infrastructure to age in place.
The legislation establishes a $250,000 "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" pilot program in New Jersey's capital region. The community, or "NORC," is defined as a "contiguous area in which at least 50 percent of households are headed by someone who is 60 or older," according to a report in NJSpotlight, and are "de facto senior communities" by virtue of residents who have chosen not to move as they age. NORCs would be intended for low- and moderate-income residents, according to the legislation.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, sponsor of the lower-house version of the bill, told NJSpotlight that establishing these types of programs are increasingly essential:
“Not everyone wants to move into senior housing or an assisted-living facility. Many residents would rather stay in their homes, but need additional assistance to maintain their independence as they grow older .... This pilot program would allow these residents to stay in their homes and have the type of services they would benefit from in an assisted living facility delivered to them.”
As 78 million baby boomers approach retirement, it's likely we'll see increased investment in areas where seniors already live. In fact, NORCs have already begun to pop up all over the country. What's going on in your state? Does your town or organization work to address the housing needs of aging populations? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
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Matthew Brian Hersh proudly served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics. He displays many of the trappings of a New Jersey sports fan: dispirited Mets fan, former Nets fan before they left the state, and normally satisfied Giants fan. Hersh lives in Highland Park, NJ with his wife and two children.