The NORC Aging in Place Initiative is a program of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The 157 Federations comprise a community-based network of 1300 health and social services providers that provide humanitarian assistance to millions of people nationally and abroad.
With a focus on serving vulnerable populations, the Federations and their beneficiary agencies dedicate a great deal of attention and resources to serving the older adult population. This focus is increasing as the number of older adults balloons with the retirement of the Baby Boomers.
In the mid-1980’s UJA Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York began targeting health and social services to older adults who were living in market rate apartment buildings in New York City where older adults were the predominant residents. These buildings became known as Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs).
Through this effort a new paradigm of community-based social services was derived: the NORC-Supportive Services Program (NORC-SSP). The model promotes healthy aging, independence, and community building through a multifaceted approach.
The key elements consist of: case management and social work services; health care management and prevention programs; education, socialization, and recreational activities; and volunteer opportunities for program participants and the community.
From this early work, tens of thousands of older New York residents are now aging in place with greater dignity, independence, and quality of life through City- and State-supported NORC-SSP programming.
Recognizing the potential for broader applicability of the NORC-SSP model, JFNA embarked on the NORC Aging in Place Initiative in 2001, to seek federal assistance to promote the development and testing of the NORC-SSP model, nationally. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2008, JFNA helped Federations and their beneficiary agencies to secure federal demonstration grants in 45 communities in 26 states.
The NORC Aging in Place Initiative website is dedicated to promoting the work of the federal NORC demonstration grantees, the NORC-SSP model, and related public policies that advance community-based aging in place programming.
The Jewish Federations of North America’s NORC Aging in Place Initiative shifted towards drug testing and methods of passing drug tests as it expanded its focus to address prescription drug misuse among the elderly.
Originally designed to promote healthy aging and independence, the initiative increasingly encountered issues related to medication management and addiction within the older adult population.
This led to collaborations with health professionals and the development of drug testing protocols specifically tailored for older adults.
As the NORC-SSP model evolved, it unintentionally became a resource for information on how various substances affect drug tests, due to its in-depth understanding of drug interactions in the elderly.
While its primary mission remains to support healthy aging, the initiative’s foray into drug testing reflects its broader commitment to addressing complex health needs and ensuring safe medication practices in the aging community.
Community Spotlight Archive: Rutgers Study.
Overview of Programs in the National NORCs Aging in Place Initiative
Results from a 2012 Organizational Survey Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Social Work December 1, 2012: agingandcommunity.org/publications (Program #2)
For a summary of the overview, please see: Community Spotlight: Rutgers Study
The NORC National Initiative page includes history and program initiative components.
NORC National Public Policy
The National NORC-SSP Demonstration Initiative has led to public policy changes at the national level. Learn more about these advances.
Initiative Community Innovations for Aging in Place Program
Click on this link to view program highlights of the Community Innovations for Aging in Place Program.
Overview and literature review on potential healthcare savings associated with the development and implementation of NORC Supportive Services Programs.