There is a famous book--A Pattern Language--that proposes ways to structure environments for comfort and utility. I haven't read it in a while, but I remember that the authors suggested that elders be housed in small cottages in areas with foot traffic. Each cottage would have a bench outside, so the elders could watch the world go by and chat with people.
Could such a dream be realized in the USA? I have been observing both my parents and parents-in-law and am trying to figure out what kind of old age I hope to have. The little French town in which I have been residing offers elders plenty of opportunity to remain part of the community. First, a bakery and small grocery are within walking distance of most places. I see many elders with canes going to get their daily--or twice-daily--baguette.
The carrot lady whose grocery purchases I wrote about a few days ago is a case in point. She was quite vivacious and used the slowdown at the register to initiate a discussion of what shops would be open on Bastille Day. We saw her talk to several people on her way home--just a few steps from the grocery.
I think her total purchases came to under 3 euros. Mr FS and I surmised that she goes to the grocery every day in order to have some social interaction. Since houses are close together here--many sharing walls--it is easy to interact with neighbors of all ages.
My dream is to live in a walkable city with public transport. Is there any place in the USA that offers that?