My mom has been told she should no longer drive. For her this is a problem, in part, because it means she must rely on my dad to take her the her many varied activities. My folks live, as do most Americans, in a suburban environment. This made me think of Orvieto and of Morganton, the small NC town to which we are moving.
As we search for a house in Morganton one of the criteria we are using is that we can walk to downtown. Morganton still has a grocery store on the edge of downtown in the area we are looking. As we age we will be able to walk to do our necessary chores even if we can’t drive.
I think about Orvieto and the amazing mix of ages that is on the streets. Amongst those are the elderly who go to the market on Thursday and Saturday, and who can do all the necessary chores of life by getting around on foot. What an absolute blessing.
In addition, there is great social interaction that takes place on the street. People aren’t separated from others by their cars. This interaction is healthy for us as people and healthy for seniors who are often isolated.
One of the things we are going to have to begin to cope with as all of us baby boomers age is the livability of cities for seniors. It’s not that it isn’t an issue now – I think how much better it would be for my parents if they could walk everywhere they need to go. It is just that the sheer number of boomers is going to raise this issue to the fore.
Orvieto provides a wonderful example of how the physical design of our communities can have a tremendously positive, or negative affect on the quality of our lives. Imagine if you could step out your front door into an active, vibrant, nourishing environment such as the one at left!
We have much to learn here in this suburban nation of ours on how to care for our populace. It is the obvious and the less than obvious. Orvieto provides our travelers many lessons!!