After years of school, work and parenting, retirement is finally in sight. You’re ready to downsize and sell the family home. But where should you go?
Consider moving to a college campus. It may sound crazy, but when you think practically about this new trend, it makes perfect sense. Seniors want more these days than a place to live that only houses people their own age. Socialization is key to seniors feeling happy and engaged in their communities. Many seek an active lifestyle, with intellectual stimulation and an intergenerational environment.
A college campus fits the bill. Many are referred to as “university-based retirement communities” or UBRC’s for short. They offer residents academic and social benefits that others cannot, so it’s no wonder that they’re popping up all over the country.
What sets these communities apart?
First, there’s the proximity to a college campus. Many offer free or reduced price entry to classes and campus events. That can also include theater, arts and social activities. This connection with higher education keeps senior residents physically and mentally active, with many opportunities for recreation, fitness, education and more. A physically and mentally active lifestyle has been proven to help stave off dementia as you age, and lifelong learning can be a huge part of that.
Social interaction with the younger generation is also a great way to stay young at heart and keep your brain sharp as you age. Many seniors in these communities become mentors to college-aged students or even volunteer their time for academic tutoring on campus.
Services included are often the same or better than other senior living options.
Expect to find similar or better services at these retirement communities like on-site health care, aging-in-place options, fitness and wellness programs, etc. In addition, you may also find group activities and planned outings to campus productions, art galleries and special programming.
You can also expect to find other like-minded retiree’s looking to continue to expand their education, cultural exposure and social interaction in their later years. This can be a great way to build a community you feel connected to.
There are over 100 UBRC’s in the country right now, with many more on the way. Discover some of the top communities and what they offer residents.
1. Kendal at Oberlin in Oberlin, Ohio
Located near Cleveland, Ohio, Kendal at Oberlin offers retirees an active, vibrant lifestyle with spaces for independent living, residential services, amenities and coordinated, on-site health care. Oberlin College and the Conservatory of Music is less than one mile away, offering over 500 lectures and concerts throughout the year. Kendal residents are welcomed visitors on campus.
2. Oak Hammock at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida
This UBRC was featured in the PBS NewsHour report for its unique Institute for Learning in Retirement program. Classes are taught by current and retired professors from the University of Florida, and are open to anyone over the age of 55, expanding the community of Oak Hammock to the greater Gainesville area. Residents can also audit University of Florida classes for free.
3. Vi at Palo Alto at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California
Located less than a mile from campus, Vi offers daily shuttle bus services to campus for residents who wish to visit. In addition, residents organize a weekly lecture series to connect with professors, researchers and physicians from campus who come to discuss topics nominated by the residents themselves.
The campus has little affiliation with Stanford University and residents must pay to audit classes or participate in continuing education programs.
4. Lassell Village at Lassell College in Newton, Massachusetts
Lassell Village is a little different than most UBRC’s. Continuing education for its residents is not an option; it’s a requirement. It is mandatory that all residents complete a minimum of 450 hours of learning and fitness activity each calendar year. All classes are free of charge and can take place inside or outside of the community. Many classes are hosted at the retirement community, making them accessible to the less mobile residents. There are also formal programs for residents to mentor students, participate in joint volunteer activities or even complete independent research.
5. Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana
Only 1,000 feet separate the campus from this retirement community, making it easy for residents to interact with students and educators.
In addition, residents receive library cards and college ID badges for Holy Cross College that give them access to the campus library, fitness center and athletic events.
The retirement community also offers transportation monthly to events on the University of Notre Dame campus, including their popular football games.
6. UC Berkeley Senior Housing in Berkeley, California
The Albany City Council unanimously approved a new senior community project in March of 2014. This senior community project will consist of senior housing, a grocery store and small retail shops. It has been carefully planned with extensive public participation.
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For more information on UBRC’s and a list of these communities throughout the U.S., visit:
To find senior housing communities located close to colleges and universities, or communities with their own lifelong learning programs, start your search online today with Seniorly!