Being “age-friendly” can pay off for local businesses

By David F. Rooney

Being “age-friendly” can pay off for local businesses, says Social Development Coordinator Jill Zacharias.

Revelstoke’s population of seniors, a little less than 10 per cent of the total population, already want to get out and shop in local businesses and that is only going to increase as Baby Boomers reach retirement age and become seniors themselves, she said.

“Boomers are a big piece of the demographic pie,” said Zacharias who produced a plan in February aimed at making Revelstoke more conducive to the needs of men and women in the latter part of their lives. “What that means for business owners is that you’ll eventually be serving an older clientele.”

She predicts that while many seniors have traditionally left town when they retired, that could well change. And that means businesses should be looking at ways to ensure that seniors can easily access their places of business. That’s not necessarily an expensive or complicated process.

Making sure that there are benches in or near a store is helpful to those seniors who tire easily. Wider aisles between counters and displays is a good idea and is particularly useful to seniors with walkers or wheelchairs. Even something as simple as ensuring that door thresholds are not raised too far or that door mats are flush with the surface of the floor may determine whether a senior wants to patronize a particular business more than once.

Zacharias said she has produced an “age-friendly check list” businessowners can use to determine how welcoming their emporiums are to older shoppers.

Many of the things on the list are not useful to seniors exclusively but will prove helpful to parents with children and handicapped shoppers, too, she said.

To find out more about the plan please go to Copies of the check list are available by calling Zacharias at 250-814-3875. Her office is located in Suite G at the Business Information Centre at 204 Campbell Avenue.