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Andrew Carle – Seniors Are Not Ready to Stop Learning

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Andrew Carle - Seniors Are Not Ready to Stop Learning
Andrew Carle – Seniors Are Not Ready to Stop Learning

Many Retirees are looking for a new lifestyle in retirement. They want to be active, intellectually stimulated, and intergenerational.

Retirees are flocking to college towns because of the opportunities that abound there. Colleges offer more than just classes; they also provide great social events and intellectual stimulation.

The best retirement communities have strong ties with nearby colleges or universities. They’ve created opportunities for residents featuring intergenerational programs designed specifically for those over 50 years. Seniors can enjoy learning alongside students who are still pursuing education as well as young professionals who may be starting their careers early after graduating college.

Today, Join me in conversation is Andrew Carle. He is Adjunct Lecturer at Georgetown University Aging & Health Program  – He will share his work on University-Based Retirement Communities.
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Timestamps:

[00:00] Introduction to the podcast
[00:41] Introduction to Andrew Carl
[01:49] Share with us a little bit about yourself?
[02:59] What do you think of this trend among super seniors returning to college campuses? And what is life like in a retirement community located on a college campus?
[04:43] What are some of the key benefits retirees reap from living on campus?
[05:45] Do you see any cons of retiring in a community retirement community on campus?
[07:22] Where are the best college retirement communities for active seniors who want to stay social and engage?
[08:53] Does the proximity of these retirement communities to campus help higher rates for enrollment numbers and retention rates?
[10:05] Do students ever experience a culture shock when they get into their final year of education and start living around many retired people that aren’t as young as them?
[12:57] How do you think, I guess, how has this world of higher education changed since you and I were a student? And how would you say it changed the lives of the baby boomers?
[14:27] What are the financial appeals for retirees to move to a college town?
[15:16] Do you think baby boomers find it easier to fit in a collegiate culture?
[16:46] Would you consider living in a university retirement community yourself?
[17:24] Do you think being in a college-based retirement community can help reverse aging?
[22:41] What criteria should potential retirees look at when choosing a community to retire in, let’s say college-based?
[27:48] What would make you believe that university retirement communities may be able to reverse aging?
[29:34] How does university life compare with community life when it comes to lifestyle for elders? Let’s say back at home?
[35:17] Is there anything else that you would like to add?
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Bio:

Andrew Carle is a recognized leader in the Senior Living Industry. He currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member and Lead Instructor for courses within the Senior Living Administration Concentration at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. The Concentration offers the only graduate curricula in the nation dedicated exclusively to the rapidly growing senior living field. Prior to Georgetown, Mr. Carle served as an award-winning professor and Founding Director of the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Learn more about Andrew Carle:
LinkedIn
Program in Senior Housing
Carle Consulting, LLC
Wikipedia – “Nana” Technology
Twitter

Transcript:

Hanh:
Hello, I’m Hanh Brown. And thank you for tuning in. This conversation is live streaming on all the various social media platforms. We’re all about older adults. It’s time to bring on the wisdom and perspective of those who have mastered life. I typically share topics on digital health, senior housing, senior living, and aging in place to help you understand what is happening in our world as well as we age. We also talk about strategies and caring for older adults and tips on how to live a healthier life. I feature guest appearances by experts on this platform to share their journey in caring for older adults. As you know, many retirees are looking for a new lifestyle in retirement. They want to be active intellectually stimulated and intergenerational. Retirees are flocking to college towns because of the opportunities that abound there. Colleges offer more than just classes. They also provide great social events and intellectual stimulation. The best retirement communities have strong ties with nearby colleges and universities. They’ve created opportunities for residents featuring intergenerational programs designed specifically for those over 50 years old. Seniors can enjoy learning alongside students who are still pursuing education as well as young professionals who may be starting their careers early after graduating college. So, today joining me in conversation is Andrew Carl. He is the junk lecturer at Georgetown University Aging and Health program. He will share his work on the university-based retirement community. So, Andrew, welcome.

Andrew:
Thanks Hanh. Glad to be here.

Hanh:
Great. So, would you share with us a little bit about yourself, how you got here and something on a personal side?

Andrew:
Sure. I mean, I was originally a hospital administrator actually many years ago. and then about 25 years ago, I heard about this new thing called assisted living, and was a founding executive with what became one of the top 10 largest companies back then, and I’ve been in senior living senior housing ever since. And then at some point along the way, created an academic program for senior living administrators. First undergraduate program at George Mason University here in Washington DC area. Now I have a graduate curricula, that I run served as lead instructor for at Georgetown University in senior living administration. So, senior living aging things technologies, new models of housing are pretty much what I’ve been doing for 25 years.

Hanh:
Well, great. Thank you so much for being here. So, the baby boomer generation is not ready to put down there. So, in recent years, a new trend has emerged among this group of people, retirement communities on college campuses. So, what do you think of this trend among super seniors returning to college campus? And what is life like in a retirement community located on college campus?

Andrew:
Well, it’s a, it’s a perfect fit, actually. So, there was a major study done by HSEB a number of years ago that showed that it was the United States that invented the entire concept of what we know as the golden years. But it also showed that that lasted exactly one generation. And what happened was is our parents, baby boomer parents, or boomers themselves, which includes me. Basically we’re told by our parents or saw by watching them that returning to a rocking chair on a porch and watching the sun go up and down, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And so, what we’ve learned from that experience, is we want three things and you mentioned them earlier. We want active, we want intellectually stimulating. But probably most important, we want intergeneration environments. We don’t want to retire to what I call an elderly island. We built a lot of very beautiful retirement communities in this country, but unfortunately, a lot of them are 10 miles, 20 miles from the nearest city up the top of a mountain. And they’re beautiful, but a bird in the gilded cage is still in a cage and that’s not what the baby boomer retirees are looking for. They’re looking to stay involved in the world and intergenerationally involved in the world.

Hanh:
That’s very true. Certainly that is something that I would be interested in on a personal level to be near an environment that lends itself for learning and growing, and also not be reminded how old I am, let’s say, or reminded of my limitation, but be around people that are thriving. So, I can appreciate that. So, I know we addressed this, but like, what are some of the key benefits to retirees reap from living on campus?

Andrew:
I mean, I think it’s access to a lot of amenities. Think about it for your typical senior living provider and you build a community. You have a beauty salon or an activity room or a game room or something like that. Now think about taking those same people and giving them access to a football stadium and a basketball court and a performing arts venue and libraries. And just even frankly, the food venues and college campuses now are pretty impressive. They’re not like, oh, what I was in college and you went down the tray line. So, just all of these options, a lot of these college campus grounds now are not only very historic, but they’ve been updated to be almost resort like, and the just have access to all of that. It’s just a complete difference versus again, if you’re at a typical senior living community, not having access to those things.

Hanh:
Absolutely. Do you see any cons of retiring in a community retirement community on campus?

Andrew:
Ironically the biggest con in, and I’ve been working on these for 15 years, is mostly the need for the universities, ironically, to be the most educated on this. The retirees know exactly what they want. They know exactly what they want, what we said a minute ago. They want active, they want it intellectually stimulating. They want intergenerational. Well, I mean, I just described the college campus. So, they know exactly what they want. It’s the universities that struggle because in fairness to them, this isn’t what they do for a living. I mean they’re, their consumers are 20 year olds. Not 75, or 80 year olds, and senior living is a complex business, as you know. And so, if there’s any kind at all, it’s about the, university’s really figuring out how to do these things, to really maximize their potential and not leave some opportunities on the table that would have been there if they had known a little bit more about them.

Hanh:
Cause I’m sure it involved the students, the faculty, curriculum, creativity among everybody.

Andrew:
Yeah, it’s really a true partnership, but you have to set aside some of the aspects or frankly, some of the attitudes of ageism that exists at universities. Again, if you think about the world they live in, they’re surrounded by 20 year olds, 24/7. So, it’s not intentional ageism but there’s just the lack of understanding of the benefits that can really accrue to retirees living on or near your campus and how they can actually improve the experience for everybody.

Hanh:
Mm hmm. So now, where are the best college retirement communities for active seniors who want to stay social and engage? Where do you think that is?

Andrew:
I mean, I have a number of favorites. I hate to play favorites, but I’ve traveled all around the country and visited most of these that exist. I’m a big fan of Oak Hammock at the University of Florida. They did a really nice job down there. The way that they integrated not only being close to the campus, but they’ve actually built classrooms inside the retirement community so that you could not only do lifelong learning, but just get off the elevator and go to class in your own community. And the way they’ve integrated student internships. Things like that. ASU just opened a really spectacular community called Maribela, that they built took all the lessons from the last 20 years and a model that I developed that had some very specific criteria, and they really mapped it out very carefully. And that community was, I think, 20 story, 300 resident, $250 million project that was sold out before it even opened. So, they did a very nice job. Notre Dame has a very nice community. Stanford has a community, a very nice community that they opened probably 15 years ago. So, there’s some really good ones out there. There’s some that are maybe kindly tangently related. Maybe miss some of them marks, some of the connections, but as we develop more and more of these that are learning from each other and getting better.

Hanh:
That’s true. So, does the proximity of these retirement communities to campus help let’s say, in higher rates for enrollment numbers and retention rates?

Andrew:
I mean, I think it’s critical for a couple of reasons. Number one, probably the only two demographics that don’t have cars or 20 year olds of college and 80 year olds who’ve retired, so they don’t have cars. So, proximity matters if you want to access the campus, if you’re a retiree And proximity matters if you’re a college student who wants to do an internship or who wants a part-time job or wants the volunteer. So, there’s a logical element to that where proximity matters. I think the other part of it Hanh is just culture, cultural. I mean, I was in college. I lived off campus. But I remember, if you lived more than about a mile off campus, you didn’t feel like you were part of the campus. If you lived five miles away or 10 miles away, and you were a commuter. You weren’t a college student on campus. So, I think that there’s still that element of, if you really want to have the culture and the feel of the university, you need to be in the university environment.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So, do students ever experience a culture shock when they get into their final year of education and start living around many retired people that aren’t as young as them?

Andrew:
I haven’t seen it. In fact, if anything, they really appreciate it. Number one, remember this, I had, I remember years ago, when I think it was a university provost and he was kind of opposed to the whole idea. He didn’t quite get it. And he said, well, we don’t want the senior citizens taking over our campus. And I reminded him that most of these communities have anywhere from one to maybe 300 residents on a campus that has 20,000 and 30,000 students, they’re not taking over your campus. And there’s really no impact on the day-to-day life of students and their ability to enjoy their college experience. But what we also see is that these students understand that the world is changing. There are a lot of careers in aging. The students understand that 20% of the population outside of their campus in the very near future is going to be over the age of 65. So, they appreciate the diversity and they understand that the world is changing, and that this is this population is part of the world. They also, by the way, really enjoyed the mentorships that they get. Davidson college down the Pines at Davidson has a whole program where when you’re a freshmen, they’ll match you up with one of the retirees, at their retirement community, who was maybe a retired engineer. And if you’re an engineering major, you just got a mentor. And it’s a wonderful program that has really delivered and brokered those intergenerational relationships.

Hanh:
Very true. I tell you, when I was in my, let’s say twenties, I would love to have somebody who let’s say in their sixties that have gone through that journey who are in the same profession to give you that kind of insight, what that looks like. I mean, that’s gold. So, I think it’s wonderful.

Andrew:
It is. I’ll tell you a quick story. I remember Dale Corson, who was at the time, the retired president of Cornell University, and he and I were on the phone years ago. He said, Andy, the Cornell has the second best physics department in the world. And he said, the first best physics department of the world lives that our retirement community, which is called Kendall at Ithica. But he wasn’t joking. They actually had like people with Nobel prizes in physics, living in that retirement community, he was a physicist too. So, right there, he said, all these physisists who are retired are eating lunch, and physics students are coming up to them and physics faculty are coming up to them and trying to pick their brains. So, really a lot of value there.

Hanh:
That’s great. So, there’s no secret that millennials are the future of America and in the workforce. And there’s been an influx in recent years of older generations looking for work opportunities that will keep them occupied during their retirement. So, how do you think, I guess, how has this world of higher education changed since you and I were a student? And how would you say it changed the lives of the baby boomers?

Andrew:
Well, I’m not sure when you were a student, but when I was a student it was old school, as they say. I mean I remember going down the cafeteria line, and whatever they put on my plate, I ate. I think the biggest difference on college campuses now are just the amenities. Again, they’re almost like resorts, but I mean the fitness center, the aquatic center, the access to performing arts venues. I mean in my day, you never would have heard of Bruce Springsteen doing a concert at the level he is now of fame on a college campus, but some of these campuses now have tremendous world-class performing arts venues. The last concert I saw was actually Paul McCartney at the University of Virginia. So, there are things at universities now that are completely different than when I went there. Some of these dining venues have five or six different, food stations with everything from sushi to pasta bars, to vegan, or organic choices, and all around campus. So, just the completely different element where it actually makes a lot more sense. There’s a lot more going on on campuses now for people of all generations.

Hanh:
That’s great. Now, what are the financial appeals for retirees to move to a college town?

Andrew:
Well, I mean, studies have shown that college towns are generally speaking, often more affordable. Really a great value proposition, a lot of college towns. Look at Charlottesville, Virginia University of Virginia, not far from me. Great college town, always ranked among the top five or 10 places in the United States to retire. And if you see that, why? Because they’re very affordable. They have all of the amenities of a major university. They’re highly intellectual, right? There’s a lot of good highly educated demographic there. And so, as a value proposition, the college town makes a lot of sense to a lot of re for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

Hanh:
I agree. I agree. So, do you think baby boomers find it easier to fit in a collegiate culture?

Andrew:
They do because the boomers, right now are the most highly educated, retiree demographic in history. About a third of all baby boomers have at least a bachelor’s degree. 60% of baby boomers have some college at some level. And even those ones who didn’t go to college, in their retirement are really, really drawn to lifelong learning. We have in the last 20 years, a group called the Bernard Osher. Foundation started funding lifelong learning institutes at universities, actually exactly 20 years ago in 2001. And 20 years later, they have 125, what are called Asha Lifelong Learning Institute at 125 universities and college, all across the United States, all 50 states. So, this is, for even boomers who didn’t necessarily go to college in their retirement, they want to participate in life long learning.

Hanh:
So, now, the idea of retirement is a concept that is not new, but what does it look like in the future? I mean, what about when we’re older and retire from our jobs? When we retire, we have to consider if this means giving up on living life. This fear of aging can be crippling for some people. They feel trapped by their fears and forget to let go of them. So, would you consider living in a, in a university retirement community yourself?

Andrew:
Absolutely. I have fond memories of my Alma Mater, the University of Buffalo and my grad school, George, The George Washington University. And I think I’m like a lot of folks, very good memories of those times and understand now through my work, serving on the faculty at two universities. I’m really coming to appreciate all that they have to offer.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So, do you think by being in a college-based retirement community. Do you think that the idea of reverse aging is possible?

Andrew:
I’ve got a really interesting hypothesis on this, that I’ve been working on. In 1979, is Dr. Ellen Langer, Harvard University. So, in 1979, she did this very famous study. She took a small group of older men. They were in their seventies. She said, we’re going to take them on a retreat for five days. She didn’t tell them in advance that when they got to the retreat, they were going to have to go back in time twenty years. Everything was set up for 1959, very famous study called the counter-clockwise study. And for five days they had to live in 1959. They weren’t allowed to talk about anything after 1959, all the books and magazines in their room were 1959, but music on the radio was Perry Como. When they watched TV, it was reruns of the Ed Sullivan show. And here’s the fascinating thing. Five days later, when they measured them on wellness criteria, they had, they were physically stronger. They were cognitively stronger. Their vision got better. Their hearing got better. Even their taste got better. They had literally grown younger. And even groups who were shown photos of them before and after two different groups, the after group actually estimated their age at younger. So, even five days later, they apparently even looked younger. And what Ellen Langer showed was, is that some way you’re kind of, as young as you feel as young as you think you are. So, a very famous study. Now there’s a part B of that, something called the reminiscence bump. And the reminiscence bump also very well-documented basically shows that our strongest memories are formed between the ages of about 18 and 25. Why is that? Well, it’s when our brain is sharpest, but it’s also when we have all of those first moments in our life when we’re on our own, right? Our first car. Our first job. Our first love. We fall in love. We get married. We have a baby. Our first house. But it’s also guess what? When we go to college. And so, our most powerful memories that we constantly go back to are typically right around 18 to 25, and why people, 60 years later still wear their college sweatshirts. So, long story short, I’ve got a hypothesis that I’ve actually spoken to Dr. Langer about, and she agrees, what I’m calling the counter-clockwise bump, which is to say that if you could send people essentially back in time, but to the time of their most powerful memories when they were in their twenties, that we may in fact be able to empirically show the physical effects of growing younger, or at least slowing down the effects of aging. And she’s actually was very interested in doing that study. I’m very interested in doing that study, but it may actually make a lot of sense when you think about it.

Hanh:
No, it does. I mean, I’m not part of in any study, but just on a personal level. I’m in my mid fifties, my children are in college. My daughter is actually a medical student at University of Michigan. So, when I’m there, I, should I say say? I have a different attitude. I don’t know what it is. It’s just on a personal level it’s lively. It’s fun. It’s inspiring. And I’m a little envious because what a wonderful place to be in an environment that just so much learning. So much fun, you know? So, I can’t explain no scientific rationale, but other than the feeling that I get, it energizes me. It makes me young. It makes me want to have fun and just an overall healthy look of life.

Andrew:
But see your instincts are exactly right. And I think it is instinctual in us to understand that you are, at some point pretty much as young as you feel, or as young as you think you are. I remember my first day at George Mason University. I had been out in the field as a practitioner for, I forget how many years, right. Working in seniors, living communities around people who were older. And I remember walking into my first classroom to teach my first class. And whatever floor cleaner they used in that particular lecture hall, must’ve been the same one they use at the University of Buffalo. But, even the smell of it just brought me back all the way back to when I was a college student walking into lecture halls at the University of Buffalo. And your sense of smell is very powerful, but I remember just being stunned at how much your brain remembers these things and can transport you back in time.

Hanh:
It does. It does. So, like I said, I don’t know if it’s that instinct that you describe? I feel even my husband and I, we reminisce what we did in college, where we met just being around that kind of environment. So, it brings the youth out of us. So, I think it’s great.

Andrew:
It does. I think we can do that study and I think we can actually prove it. That’s the interesting thing.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So now, what criteria should potential retirees look at when choosing a community to retire in, let’s say college based?

Andrew:
Right. So, I mean, this is what I did back in, I think 2003 or four, I forget. But here I was working at a university and here I was a senior living executive. So, I was probably the only person in the country who was somewhat fluent in both languages. And I learned about some of these universities that kind of had retirement communities. So, I traveled around the country one summer with my wife and kids, and we visited them. When I came back, I was pretty convinced that this could really work, but they needed to be organized. They needed to be more structured. So, I developed a five criteria model that’s been used pretty much since for what I call a university-based retirement community or a UBRC. So, it’s a whole new category of senior housing. And the first criteria is proximity, which you and I talked about, really doesn’t deal as good if you’re 20 miles away. The second criteria is to have really formalized structured program. Not just casual, but written affiliation agreements so that students can do internships. Students can get jobs. Students could volunteer, but also written agreements that allow the residents of the senior living community to access the performing arts venues the sports venues, the libraries, the bookstore, the dining venues and really creating this formalized model rather than just kind of hands off and everybody does whatever they want, but putting it together. The third criteria was really having a full continuum of care. Part of the problem that universities don’t understand is yeah you move in when you’re 75, but then you’re going to be 80 and 85, and 90. And who really wants to go tell the retired university president or let alone the president of the alumni association that you have to leave because you need memory care. So, really getting them to see that you have to have independent living, assisted living, memory care, often a skilled nursing facility, but that’s not necessarily always necessary if there’s one nearby. But at least some kind of continuum of care, so that when those alumns come back to you, their last memory of you isn’t that you asked them to leave, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And then it’s really breaking down and having a financial relationship so that both parties have a stake in it. That could be as simple as the university leasing you the land, or maybe just sharing groundskeeping or utilities or food service. Cisco provides food to all the universities and senior living anyway. So, but having some kind of financial stake in it for both the university and the senior living provider to make sure they’re paying attention. And then the last thing was just having a base of alumni. It doesn’t have to be all alumns, but I have found that, you know, if at least 10% of the residence, are alumns are retired faculty or have some connection to the school, it creates that culture and that feel. And if you don’t have that kind of base of alumns, you kind of lose the whole culture. So, those five things are what I look for and how I measure them. And again, Hanh most of the ones being built now, or really kind of using that as a roadmap and really trying to structure their UBRCs around that.

Hanh:
As you’re speaking, I’m thinking of something analogist to that. Cause I know there are some church communities building senior living for their members, right? Continuum of care. It’s just like you described. So, that’s another form of community, senior living community for church members, retirement communities for nearby college campuses and so forth. I think that’s great cause that cultivate those members, those people for them to have an association, right? Because they’ve been with that particular church for some time. And gosh, it would be awful. The fact that they can’t, they’re not mobile enough to come to church and they would have to stop going and knowing that nobody follows up and on their wellbeing and care and not to mention many of those around a fixed income. So, we need to continue that support at all age, right. Particularly the later age for these members.

Andrew:
Look, it’s about giving people what they want and not just saying here’s your cookie cutter cookie cutter retirement community. And they pretty much all look the same and you can swap the signs out front and nobody would know the difference. This is really about differentiation and really narrowing it down to what people want in their retirement. And again, the boomers are a highly educated demographic. They’re very loyal to their Alma maters. I remember telling one university president, I said, you have something here that no senior living provider could ever have with all the biggest marketing budget in the world. And he said, what’s that? And I said, a $15 t-shirt with your school’s name on it in the bookstore. So, that’s, what people are looking for is to have that connection in that community.

Hanh:
I agree. Great. Okay. So now, what would you, I guess, what would make you believe that university retirement communities may be able to reverse aging? Cause I know you mentioned there was a study that you’re pursuing. Is that something that’s looking more as an outcome?

Andrew:
I think so. We know there’s a group called the Mather Life Ways. Chicago, they rent some of the time with communities and they’re doing a five-year study in partnership with Northwestern. And they’re about, I think, just getting into the third year of it. But even in the first year, they were able to show that residents of continuing care retirement communities, just staying alone can take care of hierarchies that they’ve measured a higher on five out of six measures of wellness compared to seniors, same age living at home. So, we already have some evidence that senior living communities, just because of the community they create, and the services they offer can improve quality of life. So, I do think that if you then move that to a college campus and all the things we’re talking about, the counter-clockwise effect, the reminiscence bump, I think that we could actually measure that and actually measure. We know that aging can be measured by the length of what they call your telomeres, right? Physically physiologically. And we could, we could measure that. We could measure to see how much those telomeres are shortening over time and whether or not we’re able to physically slow the aging process by these types of communities. So, I know it’s, we’re kind of down the road here, but to answer your question, we actually can measure that and see what happens.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So, how does university life compare with community life when it comes to lifestyle for elders? Let’s say back at home?

Andrew:
Again, I think it’s the amenities. It’s having access to things that are right across the street. Not having to drive. One thing that universities and retirement community sharing common is a big transportation system. They all have fleets of vehicles. Well, first of all, why don’t they share those? And secondly, it’s right there. I mean, you can go to almost any college campus and hop on a bus, that’ll take it to where you need to go on campus or on the grounds. Same with retirement communities. So, why can’t, they share these and for those people who are at the point where they really don’t want to drive much anymore, to access that. And then all the other things we’ve talked about just to be able to go across the street and go to a football game, or a basketball game. And not just football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and the women’s softball, and a lot of these sports that typically you don’t get a very big crowd there, except your friends from the dorms. And to be able to have 30 or 40 retirees, from the nearby senior living community come to your games. That’s a crowd. That’s a crowd that you wouldn’t have had and some fans that you wouldn’t have had, or even some of these performing art venues and the dance musicals and the dance recitals that students work so hard on and to just have an audience there. So, everybody’s winning here. And think about what I just described compared to living in your home that you’ve been in for already for 30 or 40 or 50 years, nothing has changed for you. And you could have access to all of these things if you were living in a UBRC.

Hanh:
Yup. Yup. And as you’re speaking, I’m thinking about it’s a wide gamut of age and life journeys for these folks, right? But let’s say even though it was 55 plus, but generally it’s seventies or so, that’s moving into apartment or 55 plus apartment or independently living. And if they’re blessed enough to have their loved ones and be in that kind of environment, oh, that’s a great fit. And it’s, it’s, it’s more readily for them to want to engage in all those activities. But some could come with loss, a loss of something, right? Whether it’s physical, cognitive loved one a decline, a loss of something. It’s difficult to get them to engage. So, I think being around people that are active and thriving, it’s motivating, it’s very motivating. So, I think with all the amenities that we discussed, I think it’s awesome. But I think at the same time, it’s good to be mindful of their predicament, where they’re coming from their state of mind, their health conditions. This is before memory care. And how do we still, remind them, show them and provide an environment that lends itself. Hey, there is life regardless of your health condition.

Andrew:
Well, a couple of things along those lines. Number one, college campuses are ADA compliant. They’re very good about that. So, actually easier to get around frankly than some other places. And then the second thing is, those student resources to have nursing students, physical therapy students, occupational therapy students, nutrition students, therapeutic rec students. And these students who will volunteer or do internships and bring this whole other level of service into the community that frankly, as a senior living provider, you never could have afforded to bring in all that extra help. And here are these students coming in, frankly for free and happily helping residents, with, again, with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, everything from down to nutrition, helping them with their diets, nursing students, medical students, dental students. So, look at the list of all of those universities. They all have, what are they doing? They’re teaching students for those careers and here they are right across the street and happy to come over and help out. Yep.

Hanh:
Hands on. So yeah, I’m with you. My daughter is a medical student now, but prior, as an undergraduate at Michigan, she volunteered for, I would say four years, but she actually did that as a high school student too, at the geriatric and the hospice. So, there’s a lot of opportunities for folks to volunteer. And then right now, like you said, there’s a problem with workforce and retaining employees and so forth, and some are getting those employees oversees. So, that’s just one way to give some relief if you’re nearby universities, because there’s a lot of opportunities, those students to get hands-on. So, it’s great.

Andrew:
Yeah. That is by the way, it’s not just the health professions. Remember senior living communities are a business. You’ve got accounting, you’ve got marketing, you’ve got operations, you’ve got finance, you’ve got a business office, you’ve got food and beverage, you’ve got plant operations and engineering. You have IT. So, I just rattled off another half dozen opportunities for students that have employment opportunities, internship opportunities, volunteer opportunities, all because the senior living community is nearby.

Hanh:
Mm Hmm. I agree. I agree. And then of course, let’s say if you’re not nearby, a lot of those volunteers limited, maybe accounting engineering, IT could also be remote, okay. But certainly there’s benefits to being nearby. So, that’s great. Well, I appreciate this conversation. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Andrew:
No. I think that, these have grown very popular as we’ve discussed. I think a lot of universities are figuring it out. I think again, they are the ones that ironically are trying to learn about this, but I think the senior living providers know exactly the benefits here, all the things I described. I mean, if you’re building a senior living community and you’re not thinking about knocking on the door of the president of the nearest university, you should be thinking about that for all the reasons I listed. Students, get it right away. Faculty get it, especially faculty who want to retire and really haven’t known anything other than a college campus their entire career. One of the things I told, the one university president, you and I both know you have a lot of tenured faculty here who refuse to retire. And quite frankly probably should have some years ago. And the only reason they didn’t retire is they don’t have any place to go. So, with these UBRCs you give em, just give them a place where they can go and they go and they retire and then they get a better quality of life. And then that allows new professors to come in and set their careers. So, there’s, everybody can win here, if we do these things right, but I will, I will close by saying that they are very complicated, probably the most complicated senior living model, because of just the difference between the world of universities and the world of senior living. So, you have to work very hard at it. You have to get them to understand each other’s language. But if they can do that and really hit all of the marks and connect all the dots, they really are, I think the next generation of retirement housing.

Hanh:
Well, thank you so much for your time. And I look forward to staying in touch.

Andrew:
You’re very welcome. Thanks, Hanh.

Hanh:
Thank you.

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Episode 128

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