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Integrating Community Services Within a NORC: The Park La Brea Experience


Aging in Place

Volume 12 Number 2

Integrating Community Services Within a NORC: The Park La Brea Experience

Susan Enguidanos
Jon Pynoos
Maria Siciliano
Laura Diepenbroc
Susan Alexman

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) are neighborhoods or buildings in which older people represent a significant proportion of the population, but for whom the communities were not planned to meet their needs. Bringing activities and services to these communities provides a mechanism for increasing access to needed resources and supports, enabling older adults to continue to reside within their community, or age in place. In 2003, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS-LA) received funding to develop social services within Park La Brea, a 162-acre, private apartment complex consisting of 4,200 apartment units located in eighteen 13-story towers with approximately 1,500 senior residents. The program, termed LIFE (Living Independently in a Friendly Environment), was designed to involve organizations that could offer support, provide feedback, link the program to the wider community, and create innovative approaches. The development of the program included formative evaluation, program implementation, and outcome measurement. This article describes the process of engaging the private owners of the apartment community; methods employed to involve community residents on many levels, including conducting needs assessments, developing volunteer roles, and creating a leadership training program and an advisory council; and programs and services that were developed in response to these processes. The article also discusses implications for sustainability.

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