In the last decade, senior housing developers have explored putting senior communities on college campuses. Unfortunately, the global economic meltdown and subsequent recession put a damper on plans, but a recent economic recovery has brought this exciting trend back to life.
Learn more about senior living and learning, and how seniors are going back to school on college campuses.
A More Engaged Senior Community
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 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.
Senior Housing Creates Vibrant College Campuses
Not only do seniors benefit, but the colleges do too:
- Senior housing keeps enrollment high: Traditional universities have struggled to keep classes full and enrollment high, which the inclusion of seniors on campus helps to achieve.
- Seniors create a vibrant multi-generational community: The inclusion of elders at university campuses encourages multi-generational friendships and activities.
- Seniors form an army of campus 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.
“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 Senior 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)
Additionally, as noted above, many 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.