2016-03-16 / Editorials

Increase State Funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

BY ASSEMBLYWOMAN ARAVELLA SIMOTAS

Please join me in committing to helping Queens seniors stay in their homes, in the communities that they have built – communities where people of all ages can thrive.

I am proud to join my colleagues in the New York State Assembly in advocating for an additional $2 million in the state budget to increase support for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) such as Queensview and North Queensview. This funding is so important because it will expand the vital programs and services for seniors and the elderly living in NORCs.

AARP reports that 10,000 Americans a day are turning 65. The fastest growing age-group is now 85 and up. In Western Queens, we are fortunate to have many folks who want to stay in their homes in our vibrant neighborhoods. It’s time we started to appreciate not only the needs of this age group, but also its hopes and dreams.

First, let’s talk about needs, because they must be met. A NORC provides a whole menu of services, through local providers, that can help seniors with preventative health and wellness activities, programs for socializing and recreation, opportunities for continuing education, volunteer activities, and comprehensive case management, if necessary. Plus, seniors living in NORCs are not passive participants in services. They also have the chance to participate in NORC governance, so that their home environments truly reflect their needs, hopes and dreams.

Second, let’s talk about hopes and dreams. We ought to think about NORCs not just as a way “to age” but as a way to help our neighbors keep their homes, stay in their communities, and maintain a bond with family and friends, houses of worship and local merchants they’ve come to rely on.

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