While not all of these communities offer assisted living, many do. For example, a recent Chicago Tribune article describes plans to add assisted living services to Lasell Village, a senior community at Lasell College in the Boston area. Lasell Village residents are expected to participate in 450 hours of classes and volunteer work, a workload comparable to that of the university’s normal students.
Putting senior communities on college campuses benefits everyone involved. Benefits to seniors include:
- Lifelong learning: Seniors have opportunities to take fun and interesting courses with true professors as instructors.
- Socialization and stimulation: Engagement in university life keeps seniors from becoming socially isolated.
- Access to university amenities: Seniors who live at communities like this have full access to the same university amenities as students, such as like gyms, libraries and various dining options.
- Better health: Research indicates a link between education and better health.
According to Campus Continuum, a consulting firm for university-based retirement communities, the benefits are indeed appealing to seniors. A survey they commissioned found that more than half of senior aged 55-75 said they liked the idea of retiring to a senior community on a college campus.
And the colleges benefit too, through:
- Keeping enrollment high: Traditional universities have struggled to keep classes full and enrollment high, which the inclusion of seniors on campus helps to achieve.
- A vibrant multi-generational community: The inclusion of elders at university campuses encourages multi-generational friendships and activities.
- An army of volunteers: Seniors at these communities frequently participate in volunteer activities.
Dr. O’dell Owens, President of Cincinnati State Technical University was quoted in a recent article as saying that these communities positively transform the dynamics of an area and also add, “…increasingly we’re seeing individuals who are coming to us just because we have courses that have always been of interest to them and they are now at the point in their lives where they have the luxury of indulging in that interest.”
Universities with Assisted Living
Campus Continuum maintains a list of college affiliated senior communities on their website. Locations that provide care in addition to independent living options include:
- The Village at Penn State: Penn State University (State College, PA)
- Holy Cross Vilage: Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)
- Oak Hammock: University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
- The Forest at Duke: Duke (Durham, NC)
- Lasell Village: Lasell College (Newton, MA)
And as noted above, more are on the way. Gerard Badler, Campus Continuum’s Managing Director, says, “There is renewed interest among universities and economic developers of college towns and land owners who are near campuses.” Stephen Johnson of the investing firm, Ziegler Cos., says to expect these projects to move forward first in areas with stable housing markets. As economic recovery becomes more widespread, we should expect an increasing number of these types of senior communities to be developed.
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