The new senior class
Retirees find college towns support an active, interesting and enriching lifestyle
There’s a new trend in retirement housing: dorms. Well, not quite. But more than 60 renowned universities have built or are building continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) near their campuses, according to The New York Times. Why? Because today’s retirees are looking for the unique mix of learning, transportation, healthcare and activities that a university provides.
Shucking traditional golf or beach retirements, many baby boomers are now recreating retirement on their terms and finding college towns ideal. These towns take on the character of the college or university and can be found across the country. Choices abound for those who find this lifestyle appealing.
And what’s not to like? Many campuses are in areas with affordable housing; quality education and teaching opportunities; strong job markets; hiking trails; entertainment options; robust transportation; the list goes on. And, they’re often surrounded by vibrant communities with innovative music and theater venues, funky shops, interesting bookstores, independent movies and exotic restaurants. Not to mention plenty of opportunities to cheer on the local team.
There’s plenty to recommend retiring to a college town. Let’s take a closer look.
Prepare for a lifetime of intellectual engagement. Universities draw top researchers, knowledgeable professors and students of all ages. Many offer low- or no-cost tuitions for older learners to audit classes. Thinking about teaching or mentoring? Perfect.
Ahead of the curve
Environmental initiatives are taken seriously in most college towns, adding to quality of life and improving affordable and convenient public transportation.
The best of health
College towns support general wellness with easily accessible gyms, as well as walking, hiking and biking trails. Not to mention best-in-class teaching hospitals and medical facilities. And having campuses nearby means CCRC residents can receive a continuum of care from independent living to nursing home care should they need it.
When it comes to entertainment, college towns offer a fun atmosphere and cultural sizzle: plays, concerts, dance performances, art museums, festivals, athletic events – you name it. There’s always something going on.
If you’re not quite ready to stop working, college towns offer full- and part-time job opportunities in myriad fields, including academia. You may face competition for the part-time gigs, though.
Find your bliss
You can find a college town in any region of the country, and many in tax-friendly states. You might also consider ones affiliated with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute that offer
Noncredit programs for those 50 and older. At right are some top suggestions.
Sources: Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D., Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center; Harris Interactive survey for the American Public Transportation Association; Campus Continuum survey; Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. News & World Report “U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014-15”
Sources: Forbes.com; kiplinger.com; topretirements.com; campuscontinuum.com
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