Students on the campus of Goucher College may one day need to make room for seniors riding in golf carts. Officials with Goucher College and Edenwald Senior Living Community in Towson are hashing out plans for retirees to live on the college campus. This would be the first arrangement of its kind in Maryland.
Martha Weiman has lived at Edenwald for three years and she’s excited about the idea of a retirement community on the university grounds for the intergenerational learning exchange.
“I’m hoping it won’t be a hard sell but you know there are some older people who are so rigid,” Weiman said. “But there are those of us who really think it’s a great idea. And I think it keeps you young dealing with younger people and the young people have a lot to learn from us older people.”
While there are about 2,000 retirement communities nationwide, fewer than 100 of them share a footprint with universities, said Mark Beggs, CEO of Edenwald.
The Towson senior community building already sits adjacent to Goucher College’s campus. The goal is to expand the existing building across three acres on the college campus which would connect the two institutions, Beggs said.
Often, retirement communities are full service islands and don’t require residents to leave for any basic needs, he said.
“We have restaurants, beauty shops, gyms, banks,” Beggs said. “People could move into a community like this and never leave the property. That’s not what they want anymore.”
Seniors are more interested in cultural events like concerts and plays which are often hosted at the college. They might want to take some college classes or even tap into the university’s study abroad program.
Even some college faculty members could live in the senior community apartment for free. In exchange, the professors would run programs for the residents. Students could get internships and jobs with Edenwald.
Psychology is the most popular major on campus, said Kent Devereaux, president of Goucher College. Other majors like chemistry and biology also lend themselves to students winding up in healthcare, he said.
“They understand that there’s a lot of needs that are going to have to be met in future years in health care, in mental health,” Devereaux said. “Being able to then have an opportunity to engage with an older population, to understand what their needs are, the way they think, is I think exciting for many of our students.”