Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

 

 

 

 

AARP Auto Buying Program

 

 

America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

 

 

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

 

 

Military and Veterans Discount

 

 

 

New Book

Dating After 50: How to get back in the game

Dating After 50 For Dummies

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Webinars

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

 

Home & Community Webinars

Family & Caregiving Webinars

Popular Articles

Viewed

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Poll: Are You a Real Techie?

UBRCs: Goodbye Bingo, Hello Blue Books

Why just retire when you can retire with class(es)?

Out: bingo, birthdays, and bridge.
In: basketball, biology, and Blue Books.


When he's not in Latin class, history lectures, or the campus library, Bob Ellis can be found at a Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions football game, wrestling match, or fitness center. Ellis isn't your typical coed. The 80-year-old and his wife, Ruth, 79, are residents of The Village at Penn State, a university-based retirement community.

Once developers sought out locations on mountainsides or near golf courses; now, real estate within walking distance of a college campus is considered prime, and waiting lists for entry are the norm. This isn't your grandma's retirement community.

"Boomers came of age in the dorms. They still go to the games, wear the sweatshirts, and love the idea of continuing education," said Andrew Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University and an expert in UBRCs. "People feel younger when they are surrounded by 20-year-olds. And they want the perks that come with college life: theater, classes, guest speakers, the library, even hanging out. This is the only model community that is intergenerational by definition. To me, it's the future of senior housing."

As a sign of the popularity of developing land near academia, Carle has established criteria for real-estate agents and buyers to prove a development’s connection with a university. Carle and others had worried that any developer would be able to say it was "affiliated" with a university. The basic UBRC criteria include the following:

• A location that is accessible to the school (within one mile of the university, preferably)
• Formalized programming incorporating the school and the community
• A full program of continuing care, from independent to assisted living
• A baseline percentage, at least 10 percent, of residents who have some connection to the school
• A documented financial relationship between the university and the senior-housing provider

Fewer than two dozen communities meet the criteria so far, while another 40+ have looser affiliations with schools. Still, Carle points out that if only 10 percent of the 4,000 universities and colleges in the United States developed UBRCs, we could see 400 in the next 20 years.

That wouldn't surprise Ray Goldwire, 74, a resident at Oak Hammock, a 270-unit complex on 136 acres. It opened in March 2004 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The retired human-resources executive is sold on the idea. When he and wife Anne moved in, they were issued campus IDs just like any student or faculty member. Ray loves sports, so Gators football and basketball games are on the agenda, as are gymnastics meets and cultural events. "It's invigorating. You feel so in touch with the younger crowd," he said.  

The couple spends time at the community's 22,000-square-foot fitness center, where graduate students serve as personal trainers and instructors. And through the Institute for Learning and Retirement, Ray and Anne have immersed themselves in classes from "Early Western Civilization" to "Appreciation of Modern Art." "The biggest challenge is keeping up with the choices," laughed Anne. Another benefit: access to one of the country's top medical teaching hospitals.
 
Mary Nelson, 79 and her husband Eric, 83, both have degrees from Penn State, so moving to The Village in December 2003 was a no-brainer. Because residents can take college classes at no cost, except for books, Mary signed up for one on the Crusades and another on art history. Besides puttering around in her small garden, Mary asks Eric to join her for monthly recitals by music students. The two have attended on-campus lectures and concerts from the likes of Elie Wiesel and Wynton Marsalis.

Lasell Village, affiliated with Lasell College in Newton, Mass., takes the UBRC concept one step further. The approximately 215 residents each agree to complete 450 hours of continuing education each year.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Cereal

Members can download and print coupons for cereals from Kellogg's®.

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

membership schwanns discount

Members get double Schwan’s rewards on all online orders from Schwan's Home Service™.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points