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Q: What's a NORC?
Old 06-27-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
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Q: What's a NORC?

A: It's a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community

I found only one mention of the term on the board, in this post by Rich in Tampa in the discussion of The Villages in Florida: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...orc#post615149

This article, in a magazine aimed at state and local government executives, goes into much more detail:

Seniors and the City | GOVERNING
"...Although the phrase was new, the phenomenon Hunt saw wasn’t. Virtually every community in the country has a NORC. In some instances, it’s the apartment complex people move to after their spouse dies. In others, it’s a neighborhood where the children have left and residents are aging in place.


According to the American Association of Retired People, more than a quarter of seniors already reside in NORCs. As the baby boom generation approaches retirement, demographers expect the growth of NORCs will accelerate dramatically.


“We need to be designing communities in which people can age in place,” Hunt is convinced. “There is no way to have enough age-specific housing to take care of the elderly.”...


...But the push to expand government support for NORCs raises broader and more nettlesome issues. Up to this point, NORC services have been funded primarily by foundations and through modest fees paid by their beneficiaries. In making the argument that it’s time for government to step forward, philanthropies are pursuing an old and familiar path: The nonprofit develops and pilots innovative programs, then government takes over. But given the current fiscal crisis (and the approaching retirement of millions of baby boomers), can government afford to help NORCs? Or, frankly, can it afford not to? It’s a debate not just about how government should promote aging in place but about the role of government itself."

Once I got past the irony of government potentially trying to create "naturally occurring" communities, I found the concept a good one. (They just need a new label for what they are trying to do.)

Most government senior programs (say Medicare and the nursing home benefit, housing repair programs, etc.) focus on a "safety net" approach that aids only those who have already fallen off the high wire of managing their health or personal affairs. There's merit in establishing programs that help folks steady themselves so they can live and prosper in the middle ground between full self-sufficiency and being a charity case.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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One other thought on the phrase: ER.org is a NORC.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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For the record, the Villages in north Florida are NOT a NORC, but as you mentioned, the topic came up in that thread.

We lived near a NORC in Madison, Wi. They just occur for historic reasons, retail, public transportation resources, etc. Just a perfect storm in a way.

A contemporary alternative to a NORC are the neotraditional or neo-urbanist planned communities, like Habersham in Beaufort, SC, and many others. While some of them get dangerouslsy similar to the Stepford wifes or the Truman show, others are very nice. If there were one near where we'd want to settle, I'd look into them.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:54 AM   #4
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Most government senior programs (say Medicare and the nursing home benefit, housing repair programs, etc.) focus on a "safety net" approach that aids only those who have already fallen off the high wire of managing their health or personal affairs. There's merit in establishing programs that help folks steady themselves so they can live and prosper in the middle ground between full self-sufficiency and being a charity case.
If you truly mean Medicare, and not Medicaid, this is wrong. Medicare has nothing whatsoever to do with "being a charity case". Likely that Warren Buffett has a Medicare card.

Only if by having "fallen off the high wire of managing their health or personal affairs" you mean that they lived beyond age 65 is this statement accurate. In that sense, may we seniors hope to keep right on falling.

Medicare is the majority health insurance program for senior Americans. Even many teachers, government workers, etc, who enjoy heavily subsidized medical care, use Medicare as their primary insurer, their government or corporate insurer as secondary.

A good and wealthy friend of mine who retired from a private university professorship recently had his employer provided secondary insurance dropped, and he will have to replace it with a commercial Medigap policy.

Ha
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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In evaluating neighborhoods in which to live after my planned ER relocation to Missouri, I am attracted to neighborhoods that have a greater percentage of seniors than other neighborhoods. I don't want to pay HOA's or other fees, but I have found that some older neighborhoods have quite a few seniors.

Right now, Frank lives in a neighborhood in which he is probably the youngest on his block, at age 54. It's really serene and pleasant. The neighborhood was built in 1962, and most of the homes are still occupied by their original owners.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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While some of them get dangerouslsy similar to the Stepford wifes or the Truman show, others are very nice. If there were one near where we'd want to settle, I'd look into them.

The Truman show was actually filmed in Seaside ,Fl. .A gorgeous planned community that is great to visit but like the movie it's artificial .
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:25 PM   #7
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If you truly mean Medicare, and not Medicaid, this is wrong. Medicare has nothing whatsoever to do with "being a charity case". Likely that Warren Buffett has a Medicare card.
My mistake, Ha. I was referring to Medicaid's means-and asset-tested eligibility rules for subsidized residential skilled nursing care.

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Only if by having "fallen off the high wire of managing their health or personal affairs" you mean that they lived beyond age 65 is there any understanding in this statement. In that sense, may we seniors hope to keep right on falling.
No, I was referring to a functional state of intermediate geezerhood accompanied by limited financial means, which can come at most any calendar age.

Take my 80-year old DM, for example, who for the last 10 years has lived a modest, very independent life some 1500 miles from the nearest relative. She moved to a small city she found interesting, which happens to have a high percentage of retirees. She lives by herself, drives herself and participates in church and other activities. But she is getting older, and she realizes that her self-sufficiency will be declining in the years ahead.

She is considering moving back to the big city to be closer to her family. However, it seems the housing choices available are either typical apartments / SFD neighborhoods or age-specific places with "care" placed prominently on the front of the brochure. The former may be too much for her to handle in a few years, but the latter is definitely more than she needs right now. (And she's not excited about being segregated into an "old folks" environment.)

Seems to me that the NORC community concept would fit her just about right.
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Old 06-27-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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Hmmm - upon reflection this neighborhood seems to split between us retired old pharts and young couples starting out. The small size and relative cheapness of the housing is the determing factor - IMHO.

heh heh heh - .
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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NYC has NORCs in various apartment complexes - there is a big one up by Lincoln Center.

My building is a semi-NORC.

ta,
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:37 PM   #10
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I once lived in a NORC. It was a lovely Art Deco apartment building, full of character, with lots of space, which is what attracted me. Only when I moved in did I discover that, at 30 or so, I was the youngest person in the building. I found it quite civilized except for the wheelchair bound (and deaf) man downstairs who liked to watch TV late into the night WITH THE SOUND WAY UP.
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:17 PM   #11
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The Truman show was actually filmed in Seaside ,Fl. .A gorgeous planned community that is great to visit but like the movie it's artificial .
Related to this, there is Celebration and Baldwin Park, Orlando. There are also other Seaside wannabes going up along the Florida panhandle.

Personally, I think it is way to cold up there in the winter, and even Orlando is cold, for northeners such as us who know the meaning of frost warnings in June!!!

We ended up buying (a few years before ER) in Fort Myers, which is half the price of Orlando and much better access to every type of beach, inland waterways, everglades, daytripable to Miami ...I could go on and on
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:30 PM   #12
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Related to this, there is Celebration and Baldwin Park, Orlando. There are also other Seaside wannabes going up along the Florida panhandle.

Personally, I think it is way to cold up there in the winter, and even Orlando is cold, for northeners such as us who know the meaning of frost warnings in June!!!

We ended up buying (a few years before ER) in Fort Myers, which is half the price of Orlando and much better access to every type of beach, inland waterways, everglades, daytripable to Miami ...I could go on and on
Fort Myers is very nice. I lived in Port Charlotte for a year, and we would take turns going to Fort Myers and Sarasota every weekend to party........
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:29 AM   #13
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NORC's occur quite often in overseas communities. Generally it starts when Govt's create programs like Costa Rica/Panama. In other cases it is retired pilots or Military who are attracted to the area first. In the case of places like Lima/Medellin you get many single retirees looking for good climate,low living costs and cultures where women are attracted to older men.
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:43 AM   #14
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In evaluating neighborhoods in which to live after my planned ER relocation to Missouri, I am attracted to neighborhoods that have a greater percentage of seniors than other neighborhoods. I don't want to pay HOA's or other fees, but I have found that some older neighborhoods have quite a few seniors.

Right now, Frank lives in a neighborhood in which he is probably the youngest on his block, at age 54. It's really serene and pleasant. The neighborhood was built in 1962, and most of the homes are still occupied by their original owners.
There's actually a rather serious drawback to this strategy. I rented a house for 10 to 15 years in an older neighborhood that had the qualities that you describe, the most important for me was the peace and quiet. However, during the time I lived there, the original residents began dying off or had to enter nursing homes. They left behind "starter homes" that had a lot of appeal for younger couples with kids. The neighborhood I lived in seemed to attract couples whose kids were @ssholes. The neighborhood went from peace and quiet to non-stop chaos. I felt no nostalgia when I finally moved away. I was sad to discover that I had become a grumpy old man.
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #15
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There's actually a rather serious drawback to this strategy. I rented a house for 10 to 15 years in an older neighborhood that had the qualities that you describe, the most important for me was the peace and quiet. However, during the time I lived there, the original residents began dying off or had to enter nursing homes. They left behind "starter homes" that had a lot of appeal for younger couples with kids. The neighborhood I lived in seemed to attract couples whose kids were @ssholes. The neighborhood went from peace and quiet to non-stop chaos. I felt no nostalgia when I finally moved away. I was sad to discover that I had become a grumpy old man.
There's an interesting dynamic in my neighborhood. Most of the houses were built 5 to 10 years after WW2. I (and few few folks of similar age) bought here in the '70s.

As old folks are dying off/leaving some of the houses have been bought and turned into housing for (4 or 5) college students. This is not really legal for the zoning, but I guess it's better than the houses sitting empty long term.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:57 PM   #16
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There's an interesting dynamic in my neighborhood. Most of the houses were built 5 to 10 years after WW2. I (and few few folks of similar age) bought here in the '70s.

As old folks are dying off/leaving some of the houses have been bought and turned into housing for (4 or 5) college students. This is not really legal for the zoning, but I guess it's better than the houses sitting empty long term.
This happened in my parents' neighbourhood. Now it's gradually coming back to a family oriented area. These cycles happen when you have a large cohort of a certain age. Best to have a Heinz 57 mix, I think!
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:25 PM   #17
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one thing to watch out for is over 55 communities 25 years after they are established.

everyone starts dieing off and there may not be any buyers to take their place if the style is dated.
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