NORCs – A New Aging In Place Solution

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A new alternative to current senior living has emerged in cities across the United States, including the major metropolitain area New York City. Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or “NORCs,” is a concept that fosters aging in place for older populations. Some 22% of those living in the Upper West Side – folks who settled into condos or rent controlled apartments in the 70’s – have now transitioned into their golden years. This is higher than the citywide average of 17%. The communities exist on their own, however, there is an opportunity and a need for independent amenities to aid its residents.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.