Older adults interested in lifelong learning can now search for certified University retirement communities.
UniversityRetirementCommunities.com, the first national website providing locations and information for retirees interested in senior living communities associated with a university or college, has officially launched. The website lists nearly 80 communities, including those associated with Duke, Notre Dame, Stanford, Penn State, Arizona State, and the Universities of Virginia, Florida, and Alabama, among others. Additional information is available on the history, services, and costs of such communities, as well as media and related stories featuring this rapidly growing model of senior living.
“Boomers represent the most highly educated retirement demographic in history, and they are seeking active, intellectually stimulating, and intergenerational retirement environments – with strong ties to their alma mater or opportunities for lifelong learning,” says Andrew Carle, Founder of UniversityRetirementCommunities.com. Carle, a former senior living executive and lead faculty for the curricula in Senior Living Administration at Georgetown University, is credited with defining the University Retirement Community (URC) model in 2006.
Within the website, retirees will be able to locate and learn about communities through “Basic”, “Featured”, or “Certified” listings, with “Certified” listings reflecting those providing the highest level of documented connection to a host university or college.
Using a 5-criteria model established by Carle, communities meeting all five can be certified as a University Based Retirement Community (UBRC)™, those meeting 3-4 as a University Linked Retirement Community (ULRC)™, and those meeting 1-2 as a University Affiliated Retirement Community (UARC)™.
Voluntary certification will be based on documentation of criteria eligibility and one-day site visits. The criteria:
Proximity — Senior living communities should be located within one mile of a host academic institution to ensure easy access for residents, students, faculty and staff members.
Continuum of services — Communities should offer the full continuum of independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing services, allowing residents to stay as their service and care level needs increase.
Programming — Communities and academic institutions must define resident benefits and access, internship structures and related learning opportunities for students.
Formalized business relationships — Land leases, licensing agreements, medical- and health-related contract services, and other services establishing mutual interest in the long-term success of the community must be in place.
Resident ties — A resident population must include at least a 10% mix of academic institution alumni, retired faculty or staff members to establish the university culture as a component of community life.
“An issue has been communities using the UBRC term to describe themselves, regardless of their level of connection to an academic institution,” says Carle, “As these communities have become more common, there is a need to better define the model in terms of the attributes most sought by retirees as well as that lead to long term operational success.”
Carle previously served as Senior Consultant - Health Intelligence for J.D. Power and Associates, for whom he helped develop a national certification program for assisted living communities. URC certification is scheduled to begin in 2024. Finally, the website provides resources for academic institutions, alumni associations, or providers interested in developing a URC and who become site members, including links to organizations providing consulting, feasibility studies, development, architectural and interior design, and operations management.
According to Carle, “There are more than 2,800 four-year academic institutions in the United States and nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65+ each day. We want UniversityRetirementCommunities.com to be the number one source for information, resources, and certification for this rapidly growing retirement and senior living option.”