Sustaining a NORC Program

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Guiding Principle # 7

As an agent of change, a NORC program reflects and challenges its partners and the community it serves.

A sustainable NORC program reflects the needs and aspirations of senior residents, providing a structure that engages them in the search for creative solutions to common problems. The contrast with a traditional approach to services is apparent at every stage—in the way these services are planned, designed, and implemented; in the dynamic relationships among partners; and in the capacity and confidence seniors develop to alter their environment.

A NORC program is about building collaborative and synergistic long-term relationships that change the community. A creative interaction between seniors and service providers lies at the nexus of that effort. Lasting and meaningful change occurs when seniors are engaged as equal partners and service providers invite their participation. But that foundational framework does not emerge naturally from current service systems; it needs to be nurtured and vigorously supported by committed partners.

Otherwise, NORC programs too readily take on the role of a “super-administrator,” coordinating business-as-usual for multiple service providers. That approach may incrementally improve access and services for seniors, but it will not be transformative. A NORC program aims higher.

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