Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities Offer Opportunities for Delivering Health Care and Related Services

In 1996, researchers at the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University studied the feasibility of providing health and supportive services for low-income older residents who live in naturally occurring retirement communities.

Naturally occurring retirement communities are housing developments, apartment buildings or neighborhoods in which residents have aged in place and that now have high concentrations of older persons.

Key Findings

  • Older people want to age, and are aging, in place.

  • A substantial number of older people live in naturally occurring retirement communities.

  • Interest in programs supporting naturally occurring retirement communities as a strategy to promote aging in place is increasing, and the number of programs is growing.

  • Naturally occurring retirement communities provide singular opportunities to:

    • Deliver health and supportive services cost-efficiently.
    • Increase service availability.
    • Organize cooperative health promotion, crisis prevention, and community improvement initiatives.
    • Develop new human, financial, and neighborhood resources for the benefit of older residents.