1. As someone who has researched and developed a model for "University Based Retirement Communities" or "UBRC's", I can advocate for the opportunities available for seniors that are available through academic institutions offering criteria-based size, programs, and resources. That said, the issue with "college-based senior cohousing" is the same for all models of cohousing, which is the failure to formally address long term healthcare or instrumental activity needs (home maintenance, cooking, driving, etc.), under the assumption non-family members will be either qualified or happily available to do so. As the average age for requiring such assistance is now 80+, the window through which cohousing can be useful may be extremely short. For academic institutions truly interested in attracting retired alums and similar seniors, the most prudent strategy is to provide structured, professionally managed senior housing, whether IL with proximate AL and SNF, or CCRC.

  2. The authors make great observations about the interests of seniors in returning to the scene of some of the best years of their lives. In order to achieve senior cohousing in these communities, there needs to be active support from universities and the governing bodies of the municipalities in which they are located, i.e. zoning that facilitates the density required on land in urban areas, real estate tax abatement and providing land that otherwise sits undeveloped in the ownership of universities and municipalities.

    Seniors cohousing must distinguish itself from its competitors, i.e. Pulte Homes, who produce buildings intended to be sold to seniors but do not design functioning communities for the long haul, in order to gain the public support needed. That requires defining "seniors cohousing" functionally and then educating decision makers about its benefits.

  3. This is great but one has to remember that co-housing developments only work in certain markets/areas. There are many seniors who do not want to live near colleges/college kids (parties, etc) and there are also a good number of seniors who prefer to live with their peers – shared life experiences, memories, activities, etc.

    And I also agree that you cannot just build a senior home but have no ties with a neighborhood or community in general. Senior housing (not only nursing homes) is housing and housing is the backbone of a neighborhood, a community, an economy and should be treated as such.

  4. Having been involved as developer of Clemson Downs in Clemson, SC (1978-81)and development and marketing consultant for Green Hills in Ames Iowa (1982-84), I am a strong advocate of college/university sponsored retirement communities. Web sites for Clemson Downs (sponsored by Clemson University through relationships with its school of nursing and its faculty) and Green Hills (developed by the Iowa State University Alumni Foundation) are available for review by interested parties. Both are full service communities with independent living ownership and rental housing, assisted living and skilled nursing on site. Alumni of both universities make up a large percentage of residents in both communities. Both have been in existence for 25 to 30 years and have served as models for other schools of higher learning, hospitals associating with retirement communities, and developers in other states.

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