Making your business Age-Friendly can help you attract and retain customers while appealling to all!

Clarenville strives to be an Age-Friendly Community as it:

• Creates programs and services that benefit all including older adults, families, children, and those with disabilities.

• Recognizes the great diversity among older adults.

• Promotes the inclusion of older adults in all areas of community life.

• Recognizes the expertise, community contribution, and value of older adults.

• Provides transportation to older adults and those with mobility issues.

• Supports low income housing and housing for older adults.

What is an Age-Friendly Community?

The World Health organization has defined the eight principles of an age-friendly community. These include:

• Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
• Housing
• Social Participation
• Civic Participation and Employment
• Transportation
• Respect and Social Inclusion
• Communications and Information
• Community Support and Health Services
In 2007, Clarenville was identified as one of 10 rural and remote communities in Canada to develop a model to make their community age-friendly. In keeping with these principles, Clarenville, through the Random Age-Friendly Communities organization, has brought about or been involved in many initiatives including Computers for Seniors, Seniors’ Fairs, Supporting the development of Seniors’ Groups, Transportation for older adults and those with mobility issues, Consulting on the Age-Friendly Park, Developing social and physical programs, Supporting seniors’ housing and intergenerational activities.

Why have an Age-Friendly Community?

The 2016 Census shows a greater number of older adults 65+ than children under the age of 15. This is the first time this has ever happened in Canada. The number of seniors in Canada grows 6 times faster than children ages 0 to 14. The average life expectancy rate in Canada continues to rise each year. The current life expectancy rate in Canada is 82.66 years. Men are expected to live to the average age of 80, while the average age for women is 84.

According to the Census data released by Statistics Canada:

• The percentage of the population over the age of 65 in Canada is 19%, an increase of 2.1 % since 2016.

• The percentage of the population in Clarenville over the age of 65 is 22.7%, an increase of 37% since 2016.

• In 2021, the percentage of the population in Clarenville between 0 and 19 was 21.3%, a decrease from 24%, while the percentage of the population over 65 has increased to 22.7% from 17.5%.

An age-friendly community enables persons of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats people with respect, regardless of their age. It helps people to stay healthy and active even at the oldest ages. It is a community that makes it easier for older adults to stay connected to the people that are important to them and provides supports to those who cannot look after themselves.

Why have an Age-Friendly Business?

Older adults are big consumers. Age-Friendly communities are “economic engines” that older adults will drive. Today’s older adults are different than those of past generations.
They are:
• Active and well, live longer and healthier.
• Sophisticated customers who research products and services that are of interest to them.
• Loyal customers and expect personalized attention.
• Contributing to our communities with expertise, life experiences and volunteer time.
• Consumers that may have more disposable income.
• Consumers with varied tastes, interests, and preferences in products and services.
• More likely to become loyal customers if they have enjoyable experiences. This can translate into repeat business.

An Age-Friendly Business is not just Elder-Friendly

An age-friendly business, like our community, is people-friendly. It is inviting, accommodating, and accessible. The benefits of being age-friendly should extend also to the greater community including:
• Parents with children in strollers
• Expectant mothers
• Individuals with disabilities
• Individuals with hearing and vision limitations
• Individuals with language issues

What aspects define an Age-Friendly Business?

Depending on your type of business, some aspects will be unique to your organization. There are some that are common to most.

Consider how your business embraces these aspects.

Examine your business environment and think about if you were in a wheelchair or had mobility issues, your sight or hearing was impaired, or you had difficultly standing.

As a customer would this be a business that you would support?

How can your business become more Age-Friendly and better serve your customers’ needs?

ACCESSIBILITY
Provide for people with reduced mobility, agility and balance. Customers can navigate without obstructions and distraction.

  1. Sidewalk access and parking areas are level and well- maintained, with curb cuts where needed.
  2. Wheelchair ramps are easily accessible.
  3. Pick-up/drop-off areas are convenient and clearly marked.
  4. Entrance doors open automatically or have access buttons. They stay open long enough to get through.
  5. There is clearance by the door for a person waiting with mobility device.
  6. Parking lots have handicapped parking.
  7. Parking lots have parking for expectant mothers/young families.
  8. Entrances, sidewalks, and parking lots are well and evenly lit.
  9. Entrances and parking lots display the international symbol of accessibility.
  10. Entrances and parking lots are promptly cleared of obstructions such as signs, snow, and other hazards.
  11. Stairways have sturdy handrails.
  12. Stair edges are non-trip, clearly marked, and visible.
  13. Flooring is non-slip.
  14. Mats are secured to the floor.
  15. Elevators/chairlifts are available if business has multiple levels.
  16. Aisles are wide enough for two walkers or wheelchairs. (approx. 4 feet) and uncluttered by displays.
  17. Washrooms are handicapped accessible and paper dispensers are easy to reach.

COMFORT
Provide for people with limited strength and stamina.

  1. Chairs are sturdy and stable. They have arms and are not too low.
  2. There is a place to sit while waiting for service.
  3. There is a chair to accommodate a person of larger stature.
  4. Racks/hooks to hang a walking cane are available at service counter/checkout.
  5. Smaller shopping carts are available for customer use.

VISIBILITY/SOUND
Provide for people with poor sight or hearing.

  1. Signage has good contrast and wording is easy to follow.
  2. Printed materials have readable font, at least 12.
  3. Pricing and advertising is in readable font, at least 12.
  4. Promotional materials include depiction of older adults.
  5. Location of washrooms, elevators, etc. is clearly marked.
  6. Website text is in large font and easy to read.
  7. Website is easy to navigate with clear subtitles and links.
  8. Website contains an easy-to-find phone number where a caller can speak to someone in person.
  9. Magnifying glasses are available to help customers read fine print.
  10. Background music is not too loud.
  11. Sound systems for public announcements are loud and clear.

CUSTOMER SERVICE
Provide assistance and advice to people who buy or use your products or services. Respect a customer’s time and preferences.

  1. Staff are trained to be friendly and patient with all customers, and try to meet their needs.
  2. Staff are trained to speak at an appropriate speed and volume.
  3. Staff members greet your customers.
  4. Staff are trained to assist customers with vision or hearing challenges.
  5. Staff are trained to handle falls or emergency situations.
  6. There is a privacy space available to discuss people’s business.
  7. Errors and customer complaints are addressed promptly and courteously.
  8. Service desk is easy to find.
  9. Customer service area has at least one counter at wheelchair height.
  10. Phone service has easy-to-follow menu.
  11. An in-store pick-up service is available to customers.
  12. Home delivery service is available.
  13. A carry-out service is available.
  14. Goods are able to be purchased on line.
  15. Products and services are designed for smaller households, small incomes, and smaller appetites.
  16. Restaurants have some tables that can accommodate wheelchairs.
  17. Restaurants have seating to accommodate young children.
  18. Senior discounts are offered.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
Increase your profile as an Age-Friendly Business.

  1. Hire staff that are in the senior age range.
  2. Provide workplace programs/strategies for older workers.
  3. Provide opportunity for employees to return to work part-time after retirement to train/mentor younger workers.
  4. Accommodate different schedules for younger employees with families.
  5. Provide opportunities to work part-time.
  6. Provide opportunities to work from home.

LAUNCH EVENT VIDEO

Watch the complete initiative launch from Thursday, June 9th, 2022.