The old stomping grounds: Senior living trend takes us back to campus.

As (my) Baby Boomer generation inches closer and closer to both retirement and our "golden years" of a senior lifestyle, more and more of this generation are seeking an intellectually stimulating lifestyle where we can engage in multigenerational experiences and events sponsored by our alma mater such as university courses, lectures, art exhibits, music performances as well as football and basketball games. Active seniors often choose to reside in a university-based retirement community that provides the vitality and energy associated with campus life. Who can blame them? [caption id="attachment_4099" align="aligncenter" width="755"]Senior Living blog example campus commons tcu Active campus life is the magnet attracting university-based retirement centers near colleges and universities across the nation.[/caption] Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University coined the term “University-Based Retirement Communities” (UBRCs) which are senior living communities in close proximity to a university offering specific university-based benefits supporting an intergenerational lifestyle experience. There are about 70 University-Based Retirement Communities nationwide with many more senior communities planned for close proximity to university campuses. University-Based Retirement Communities nationwide have waiting lists packed with seniors wanting to re-embrace the campus lifestyle. [caption id="attachment_4101" align="aligncenter" width="314"]Senior Living Example_Campus Commons drum cafe The "Drum Cafe" bongo lessons at Texas Christian University is just one example of the vibrant offerings seniors might find living in communities near a campus.[/caption] Reported in this recent article by Ellen Rolfes on PBS News Hour, Mr. Carle offers five criteria critical to a successful UBRC:

  1. Programming – provide an educational component providing university-based learning, health, entertainment and social opportunities.
  2. Proximity – provide a site location preferably within one mile from campus, as both students and seniors often are without cars and use other modes of transportation
  3. Senior housing and health services – provide all levels of senior care including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.
  4. Alumni base – a portion (at least 10%) of the residents are former students, faculty, staff or employees of the university.
  5. Financial arrangement – provides a mutually beneficial financial arrangement between the university and the retirement community to give both entities an incentive to succeed.
With our deep history in student housing, our firm understands why this trend of URBCs make so much sense. The campus life experience is rich with learning both in and out of the classroom, social interactions that become particularly vital as we age, and, perhaps most important of all, a sense of community where we feel we belong. Turns out what we needed at 20 serves us pretty well at 70 or even 80–some things in life truly are timeless.