BC businesses now have access to a guide on how to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for seniors.
Creating an Age-friendly Business in BC is a collaborative release between the Ministry of Health and the BC Chamber of Commerce. The guide is designed to help new and prospective business owners ensure their businesses are age-friendly. It includes information on how businesses can provide an environment of safety, comfort, visibility and respect for older customers. The guide also includes examples of best practices from existing businesses and an assessment tool to help business operators determine if their business is age-friendly and learn how to make improvements.
Signs of an age-friendly business include:
- Wider aisles and uncluttered pathways to better accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.
- A place for customers to sit while waiting, and a place to put packages down.
- Clear signage.
- Adequate and glare-free lighting.
- A service desk that is clearly visible so customers can ask for help.
- Staff made aware of the needs/challenges faced by older customers.
Since 2007, the Ministry of Health has supported communities by providing tools to help them respond to an aging population. A number of BC communities from Alert Bay to West Vancouver have already taken action to make their communities age-friendly. Examples of age-friendly community changes include widening sidewalks, installing benches, maximizing green space, or making programs and services more accessible to the older population.
- Over 650,000 British Columbians are 65 or older, and the post-war baby boom generation begins to turn 65 in 2011.
- By 2031, over 1.3 million British Columbians will be over 65 – almost a quarter of the province’s population.
- BC has 18 BC Seniors’ Community Parks – located right across the province – that are designed to help older adults stay mobile, physically active, and healthy in their communities.
The easy-to-read BC Seniors’ Guide contains information on a range of topics including transportation options, housing, health services and healthy living. It is also available in Chinese, Punjabi and French translations and includes telephone numbers and website information for frequently used resources. The province has also unveiled a suite of multimedia training resources that will support physicians and other health professionals to educate seniors in ways to prevent falls and stay healthy.
Creating an Age-friendly Business in BC can be accessed through any BC Chamber of Commerce or online at: http://www.seniorsbc.ca/agefriendly/businesses/becoming_agefriendly.html
For general seniors’ information please visit: www.seniorsbc.ca.
The BC Seniors’ Guide can be accessed at: www.gov.bc.ca/seniors/guide.
Information on falls prevention can be found at: www.SeniorsBC.ca/stayingindependent.
For more information on Healthy Families BC please visit: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca.