Learning from Vertical NORCs: Challenges and Recommendations for Horizontal NORCs

Document Type


Publication Date



Maximizing quality of life for older adults poses challenges for formal service providers. One strategy to identify and address factors influencing physical and mental health and to promote autonomy of community-dwelling older people is through a naturally occurring retirement community (NORC), a community development model of formal and informal home and community-based support. This descriptive article provides a review of the literature relevant to the NORC concept and a comparison of the dimensions of structure, design and location, management, cost and affordability, and socialization between vertical NORCs (high-rise apartments) in major metropolitan cities and horizontal NORCs in small cities and suburban and rural communities. Implications and suggestions for horizontal NORCs are discussed.