- Listen to Ron's Interview with Kristin Smith and Betsy Smith -  

Looking for a Great Way to ‘Age in Community’? Consider a NORC.


Episode description:  

When older Americans are asked about where they want to live during their later years, an overwhelming majority say they want to “age in place”—in the comfort, safety and security of their home, for as long as possible. But aging at home also brings major challenges. How do you make sure the design of your house meets your evolving needs? And how can you stay connected to your neighborhood and community—fulfilling your social, recreational, health and mobility needs? There’s one solution that has helped millions of older homeowners across the country: NORCs, or Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. These housing developments were not originally designed for older adults, but over time evolve into places where a large percentage of older adults live. In today’s episode, we explain how different NORCs develop; how they can be supported through government programs; and the range of health and social services that may be available to older residents. We’ll offer an unusually vibrant picture of NORCs through the personal experiences and reflections of Bess Friedman, a NORC resident in the Queens borough of New York City; Kristin Smith, who oversees the NORC Program for New York State’s Office for the Aging; and Betsy Smith, an administrator who has overseen several New York City NORCs. You’ll be inspired by this unique approach to aging that can serve a broad range of senior populations, and yet offer “concierge social services.”

Guest descriptions: 

Kristin Smith is an Aging Services Program Coordinator at the New York State Office for the Aging who oversees the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) Program. She believes that older adults are valuable members of society who deserve to age in the community of their choice. Kristin has more than 30 years of experience working in the field of aging services, previously serving as the Agency and Operations Manager at Attentive Care, Inc., a licensed health care and staffing agency, with locations in the Albany Capitol district and Long Island area. She is a Licensed Practical Nurse who holds a degree in health administration from Empire State University, as well as a degree in Human Services. She is returning to the study of social policy in the spring of 2025, working to obtain her master’s degree. When not working, Kristin is focused on her five rescue pups and her community advocacy work in the area of substance use disorder and spreading hope of recovery. She is the Race Director of a 5K run established in memory of her daughter, who lost her life to addiction in 2015.

Betsy Smith, LMSW, served Catholic Charities Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens as a senior center and family center director. She later joined Selfhelp Community Services in 2002 as Managing Director overseeing NORCs, housing complexes, and client-centered technology programs, where she was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Virtual Senior Center program. In 2012, serving as the Program Director for Henry Street Settlement NORC/Vladeck Cares, she provided administrative oversight with unique community partnerships and promoted positive aging through the delivery of social services, educational, nursing and technology programs. She was a member of the Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute Community Advisory Board and the New York Presbyterian Hospital Community Advisory Board. Betsy was a past recipient of the National Association of Social Workers/NYC Mid-Career Exemplary Leaders Award.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristin.hoin.3/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristin-smith-25716251/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/betsy-smith-66643041/

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