Chicago Tribune: College Campuses Featuring More Than One Kind of Senior

College campuses featuring more than one kind of senior are making a resurgence, according to a recent Chicago Tribune article about retirement communities located in academic settings. 

The economic downturn essentially froze financing for many senior housing construction projects and resulted in less involvement between the colleges and the retirement communities.

That’s starting to change, the Chicago Tribune reports:


After holding off on expansion projects during the economic downturn, Lasell College in Newton, Mass., recently expanded its Lasell Village on-campus retirement community to include assisted living services; it offers independent living to full nursing home care. And Winthrop University and the city of Rock Hill, S.C., are studying similar concepts.

Financing for campus retirement communities is coming back in more stable housing markets and where projects are well designed, said Steve Johnson, managing director for Ziegler Cos., a Chicago-based investment bank that specializes in health care, religious and education financing projects.

At Lasell, residents must agree to commit 450 hours per year in academic, volunteer or paid work endeavors — a comparable load to full-time students, said Paula Panchuck, vice president for Lasell Village at Lasell College.


“Isolation is the downfall of many older adults,” Panchuck said. The requirement helps ensure residents remain actively involved in something, but the precise rules allow for a wide range of activities.

Future campus housing for seniors may gravitate more to the 55-plus concept, with only independent living or minimal assistance, said Gerard Badler, managing director for Campus Continuum Inc., a consulting firm that works with academic institutions and developers.

What’s important to most seniors who are attracted to these types of communities is the idea of involvement and continued interaction, the article says. Younger seniors, in particular, tend to be more interested in academic relationships with universities, according to Badler, and the institutions want to form long-lasting relationships with retirees living on their campus. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace