Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s)

Welcome

 Welcome to the Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s) Blog. It is our intent at AgePlan to provide a forum for discussion and resource sharing as it relates to the development of Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s) where citizens have access to programs, services and supports that are found within the community.

The Connecticut  initiative began with the development of an alliance between Wecahr, Inc. and AgePlan, Inc. (see PR Announcement below):

Announcement:   Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s)  in the Greater Danbury Community- WeCAHR

Western Connecticut Association for Human Rights, Inc.  and AgePlan, Inc. collaborate on development of Community Supports for elderly and disabled citizens.

WeCAHR is currently supporting an Initiative sponsored by the CT Council of Developmental Disabilities-to demonstrate the implementation of the aging-in-place concept with people with developmental disabilities in the greater Danbury region. Our primary focus is with people with developmental disabilities who are already living in the community and who are getting older.

The primary focus of our work is to demonstrate the ability to create a Naturally Occurring Living Community (NOLC) for ageing persons with disability. WeCAHR is currently working with AgePlan, a national consulting agency specializing in promoting successful and distinctive ageing. The joint initiative will: create tools and strategies to assess the community, build on existing networks, as well as, create new networks and technological connections between the ageing networks and supports found within the community.

From this alliance, a coalition network has developed supporting Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s) in Connecticut. Why now?  Because, people are living longer; worldwide population profiles indicate that life expectancy is increasing.  (http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/worldageing19502050/pdf/90chapteriv.pdf)     

With a specific focus on the United States, the demographic profile of the American population is changing. People are living longer lives; the average age of the general population is expected to significantly increase over the next few years. In the year 2000 there were 35 million persons age 65 or older in the United States; over the next thirty years the population age 100 and older will grow faster than any other age cohort. Increases in life expectancy and changes in population structure have resulted from and have affected the nature of society. Definitions of what constitutes aging, quality of life and best practices are being revised,  In response to the increased life expectancy of individuals the dialogue surrounding clinical practice, policy, program and service needs for this aging population continues to be reshaped. The role of individual and family responsibility has changed over time. This change in longevity has implications for the nature and structure of the societal support for older individuals, their family members, and those who provide services to them.

Therefore, as people continue to experience an extension in lifespan, theoretical models and practice interventions demonstrating an understanding of the intersection between age, disease, and emotion will be required.  Students of medicine, social work, and psychology will need exposure to these specialized interventions early in their training.  In addition, seasoned practitioners will need advance training in order to maintain their commitment to professional standards.

Aging within Communities

 The aging of communities across the nation have left many in the areas of government, business, education, research and social policy with questions relating to the support of  individuals who are aging with specialized needs. At the same time, the overwhelming feedback from citizens receiving services indicates that the large majority of individuals would prefer to remain in their own homes rather than having to move to a care facility.

AgePlan, Inc. a company dedicated to “Building knowledge…Connecting people…Creating communities” has developed tools, strategies and resources that can access, analyze and develop a road map to assist communities toward supporting citizens who are aging with disabilities to remain in their home with dignity.

Definition: Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s):

A Naturally Occurring Living Community (NOLC) is defined as a neighborhood, community support network, and/or informal support system that enhances community integration, the sense of belonging and or supports the respondent’s independence, inclusion, self-worth, identity, value for the respondent and to the Naturally Occurring Living Community (NOLC).

  • In essence, the objective of the NOLC is to increase independence and personal choice by further developing an understanding of the needs of persons and their family members and by identifying interventions that can be implemented on both the micro-practice and macro-practice level.
  •  The NOLC model places emphasis on increasing individual knowledge-base regarding existing services and programs for older adults with specialized needs and their family members, as well as, developing practical strategies on how to access the existing networks and supports.
  • A dialogue between public/private partnerships is encouraged; in order to develop creative “out of the box” thinking as it relates to identifying the components of what constitutes a Naturally Occurring Living Community (NOLC).
  •  In essence, the NOLC decreases isolation and stigma for citizens. It is essential that individuals, family members, practitioners and policymakers gain an understanding of the various networks that provide support to people as they age, in their own communities of choice, thereby further enhancing the role of independence found in the power of Naturally Occurring Living Communities (NOLC’s).

 We look forward to a fruitful dialogue with an emphasis on the continual building of community-based resource networks in Connecticut. 

Aging in your community is not a privilege but rather an individual choice and right of all citizens.