There is something special about the dead-end street we call a cul-de-sac. The cul-de-sac has no through-traffic and the only people on the street are the residents, their visitors and the occasional delivery person. It brings a sense of ownership to the residents who look after the street, each other and therefore the community they have created.
My home is located in a small narrow dead-end street with a mix of different groups from single people, young families, middle age families and seniors. The kids on the street are out playing and socialising most days after school, with their parents keeping an eye on the little ones and taking the opportunity to have a chat with a neighbour. This also brings out others from their homes who want to join into the conversation or just see how everyone is going.
It’s truly amazing how a close community can have so many benefits, not just for the young but also our seniors. As an example, we have an elderly neighbour, recently widowed, with her closest family a minimum three hours’ drive away. They all work full-time and find it hard to visit. She can’t drive so was socially isolated, imprisoned in her own home.
I’m happy to say this didn’t last long. My wife regularly visits her with morning tea in hand and offers to drive her to the grocery store or to the doctors. It’s the simple things that go a long way, like having someone to talk to, to give you a lift into town, a coffee or tea and, of course, to interact with the little ones.
I believe we could be doing more in our master planning and design of new housing estates. While they have come a long way over the years incorporating open, communal areas, parks and playgrounds for the kids, are they age friendly?
I would love to see the day when pockets of age friendly lots are nestled within standard housing estates. It would give our seniors that extra level of care, social interaction with the local community and professional support from aged care providers. And the younger generation would also benefit from the wisdom of those seniors.