Lasell Retirement Community offers a college experience


Courtesy Lasell Village

Residents of Lasell Village, located on a university campus, have the opportunity to create intergenerational bonds.

Like most residents of college campuses, Nelly Murstein is busy all day, almost every day.

She is in class, attends cultural events on and off campus, walks in and out of the library to research and navigate, and exercises to keep her body fit and mind sharp.

What sets Murstein and about 250 other residents at Lasell University near Boston apart is their age – they’re between 50 and 80 years older than the traditional student.

They are residents of Lasell Village, an on-campus seniors community of 1,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students. Residents of the village enjoy the benefits of the vibrant university environment while having access to health care and other services that older people need.

“There are so many wonderful things to do that I can’t do them all,” says Murstein, 89.

Lasell University is one of more than 100 higher education institutions that have a partnership with a community of seniors. Typically, older people live next to or near campus, so they have easy access to auditing classes, attend cultural and sporting events, and become part of the college scene.

Two peculiarities of Lasell Village set it apart from other similar facilities: “It is located on the university campus and its residents are required to attend 450 hours of classes per year. Like other senior-friendly higher education institutions, Lasell University designs specific courses to be intergenerational.

“We get to know a different generation, how they think and what they feel,” says Murstein, who recently took an intergenerational philosophy course. “And they look at us and see a different kind of old people.”

In other words, they see older people who are physically, intellectually and socially active.

“We have the opportunity to change the story of aging from a story of loss to a story of life,” says Anne Doyle, President of Lasell Village. “The connection between generations is a game-changer. He breaks stereotypes. It brings a lot of fun in life.

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