Atlanta’s 14-year-old program formerly known as NORC, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, has helped hundreds of older adults age successfully in their own homes and find friends and activities close to where they live. Now NORC has become part of AgeWell Atlanta, an exciting new Jewish community partnership between JF&CS, the MJCCA, Jewish HomeLife and Federation. AgeWell Atlanta provides warm hand-off referrals, for social connections, wellness programs, housing, homecare and transportation services to help older adults (and their caregivers), navigate the aging process. Older adults living in Toco Hills, the Jewish Tower and Zaban Tower, East Cobb and Roswell, who have participated in the NORC, can simply continue their activities as before, but the affiliation with AgeWell Atlanta means even more possibilities for everyone.
“Incorporating former NORCs into AgeWell Atlanta Neighborhoods means even more social programming and supportive services,” said Ashley Maloy, who coordinates the three communities. But she emphasizes, “You don’t have to live in a specific geographic area to benefit from what AgeWell Atlanta offers.” While social distancing is the most important practice for now, having programs in place to combat social isolation is still extremely important for our growing older adult community.
Addressing social isolation is an important way AgeWell Atlanta Neighborhoods shine. Coordination between all partners means there are more outings (when they can resume), more transportation options, and more adult education classes. It is well documented that social isolation can have direct effects on a person’s cardiovascular disease risk factors. Loneliness, especially among older adults, is associated with increased sympathetic nervous system activity, increased inflammation, and decreased sleep, all of which can accelerate brain and cardiovascular aging.
Julia Alvo, an 8-year member of the Toco Hills community said, “I love all the activities and outings offered by AgeWell. It allows me to see places in Altanta that I would be too nervous to go on my own. I love learning new things and creating new experiences with my friends. The trips, food demonstrations and lunches make my life so much richer. Not to mention the exercise classes that improve my physical health, and bingo and Rummikub that help keep my mind active.”
AgeWell Atlanta Neighborhoods also addresses safety at home for older adults. For Zena Lovinger, this has been a game changer. “Recently Toco Hills assisted me in making some imperative changes to my home. I’ve lived in my home for a long time and want to stay here, but parts of it have become unsafe for me. After coordinating a home safety evaluation with an Occupational Therapist and reviewing his recommendations, Ashley connected me with the resources to install a hand railing on the sidewalk leading up to my home. This simple addition will allow me to go to the mailbox and bring in groceries without worrying about falling, thus allowing me to maintain my independence safely within my home.”
“AgeWell Atlanta Neighborhoods is about having a bigger life,” says Ashley Maloy. “We’re working to eliminate barriers to social participation by providing transportation, affordability, and a belief that people need each other.”
No matter where you live in Atlanta, AgeWell Atlanta also gives you access to Jennifer Curry, who leads the program’s Information & Referral Concierge services. If you are looking for guidance and referrals, simply fill out an intake form online, call Jennifer Curry at 1.866.AGEWELL, or email email@example.com.