Industry News

Seniors go back to school with retirement housing

55-plus housing gives 'senior' a new meaning

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Four or five days a week, Christoph Schmidt, 72, of Brunswick, Maine, walks to the Bowdoin College campus, where he audits classes, attends concerts and watches sporting events. Schmidt, a retired banker, and his wife, Babette, are examples of an emerging trend in which seniors are actively involved in college life, sometimes even living on campus. Over the last decade, a national movement to formalize these kinds of relationships has gathered strength, with an estimated 10,000 seniors currently living in about 20 on-campus communities. "More and more colleges are getting interested in the 55-plus active-adult community," said Gerard Badler of Campus Continuum, a 2-year-old, Newton, Mass.-based company hoping to build such communities on or near college campuses. "As aging baby boomers come into the marketplace, you'll see the trend accelerating," said Badler. By 2020, there will be some 55 million people over 65 in the country, according to U.S. Census projections, providing a larger...