Exploration and assessment of the NORC transformation process at two NORC communities
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCS) are defined as a community in which 50 percent of the population is over the age of 60 and have maintained residency for a period of time. This cohort of older adult residents and the community has inherent strengths. It would appear that if these strengths are cultivated through a conceptual framework bringing together community building/empowerment and social engagement/social support processes and activities, a potential for the residents to perceive the community as being transformed into one where they may grow old or age-in-place may occur. For the purposes of this study, this transformed community is labeled an Enhanced NORC.
Forty-nine separate individual stakeholders at two Enhanced NORC communities consisting of community and residential leaders, designated NORC staff and service providers participated in one-on-one or small group interviews. They were asked structured questions exploring their thoughts and experiences. Questions focused on the value of the conceptual framework as a means to understand NORC transformation, the impact of strategies employed under the conceptual framework to community transformation and their perceptions of whether the transformation is sustainable.
An analysis of the interviews, including available historical data was conducted using qualitative methodologies. The findings of this analysis revealed patterns of specific strategies including skilled staff focused on relationship building, and the inclusion of key services, aided in the stakeholder's perceptions of a transformed community. The findings also indicated the critical need for substantive funding to begin the processes and to maintain and sustain the transformation. A critical element revealed was how stakeholders require much on-going engagement including education and that these strategies can be powerful tools in obtaining and securing funds.
0452: Social work
0700: Social structure