Age is Just a Number in These Communities


“Youth,” penned playwright Bernard Shaw, “is wasted on the young.”

Some people consider this expression as a criticism of young people. It has always compelled me, however, not to take my childhood or early adulthood for granted. That’s not to say that I’ll enter my Golden Years kicking and screaming when the time comes. Instead, I’ll recall Shaw’s words once again – this time living my older years to the fullest.

That’s how my grandmother approached life. Just months before she passed away, she was dancing her heart out to her favorite Rod Stewart song at her 84th birthday party. You truly are as old as you feel and she always refused to let her age define her.

She would have fit right in at a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), which contains a high concentration of older adults, but wasn’t originally designed for seniors. The goal is to help residents maintain a strong sense of independence by promoting social engagement and providing access to a variety of supportive services (transportation, health care, education and more).

A recent BizVoice® story I wrote highlights a NORC in Linton as well as another type of senior-friendly community project under consideration in Rising Sun.

Elder-Friendly Communities (EFC)  – the state’s first NORC – was formed in 2004 on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Today, it boasts 163 individual households. Work is currently underway on a new initiative involving shared housing that will accommodate two to four older adults each. Residents will share one modified household while maintaining their private bedroom and bath. Potential benefits include preventing social isolation and enhancing safety.

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