The Perks of Retiring in a College Town

Lifestyle

The Perks of Retiring in a College Town

Retirees find college towns support an active, interesting and enriching lifestyle.

September 1, 2015

There's a new trend in retirement housing: dorms. Well, not quite. But 60-plus renowned universities have built or are planning to build continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) near their college campuses, according to The New York Times. Names include Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State, among others. Countless more are designing courses aimed at this senior class. Why? Because today's retirees are looking for the unique mix of lifelong learning, transportation, healthcare and activities that a university provides.

Shucking traditional golf or beach retirements in Arizona, California and Florida, today's baby boomers are recreating retirement on their terms, preferably something with a sense of adventure, and many are finding that moving to a college town fits the bill. These towns are centered on the college or university and take on a lot of the same character. They can be found in small-town New England or larger cities 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, walking and biking trails; entertainment options; robust transportation; the list goes on and on.

And they're often surrounded by vibrant communities with funky little shops, interesting bookstores, exotic restaurants, innovative music and theater venues, and independent movies. Not to mention plenty of opportunities to cheer on the local team. So if you're seeking that level of dynamic energy, consider the main perks of living in a college town.

Lifelong learning
Prepare to feast on 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? There's opportunity there, too.

Cognitively active people are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer's.

 

Ahead of the curve
Environmental initiatives are taken seriously in most college towns, adding to quality of life. Going green also powers improvements in affordable and convenient public transportation, including buses, rail and subway options.

83% of older Americans say that public transit provides mobility and freedom to do what they want to do.

 

Work-study
If you're not quite ready to bid farewell to the office, college towns with strong, diverse economies also offer full- and part-time job opportunities in myriad fields, including academia. You may face some competition for the part-time gigs, though.

Employees age 55 and up made up 16% of the workforce in 2004; it was22% in 2014.

 

Never bored
When it comes to entertainment, the hardest part may be narrowing your choices. College towns have a youthful, fun atmosphere and cultural sizzle: plays, concerts, dance performances, art museums, festivals, athletic events – you name it. There's always something going on.

More than half of adults ages 55 to 75 said they liked the idea of retiring near a college campus.

 

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 staffed by top research doctors. And having campuses with nearby continuing care retirement communities means residents can receive a continuum of care from independent living to nursing home care should they need it.

16 of the 17 hospitals on the U.S. News & World Report honor roll are teaching hospitals or tied directly to a university.

 

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”



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