Age friendly framework for businesses given boost
The Gore District Council’s Ready for Living programme has joined forces with the Office for Seniors to develop a framework for businesses wanting to be age friendly.
The Age Friendly Business Framework and Toolkit aims to support businesses and service providers to adapt to the changing older population to better meet their customers and clients needs.
Ready for Living coordinator Kylie Aitken said the Gore District, like elsewhere in New Zealand, has an ageing population. It is estimated that by 2038 33% of the Gore District’s population will be aged 65 plus.
“Businesses can no longer take their customers and clients over 50 years of age for granted.
“This programme (Age Friendly Business) is about creating an accessible business environment. The customer service experience needs to be inclusive and respectful, and business should offer products to meet the needs of all customers and clients whatever their age, life stage and ability.”
Ms Aitken said seven local businesses were currently recognised as age friendly.
Becoming an age friendly business involves a business self assessment, creating a action plan changes of changes that will be made, send the coordinator your plan to receive recognition and logo to display.
The Council was among those business that have begun the process to continually improve and become more age friendly, she said.
Office for Seniors Director Diane Turner said an increasing number of cities and communities across the world are recognising that businesses, government agencies, and not-for-profits also need to become age friendly.
“The ageing population presents a significant opportunity for businesses and service providers to innovate, enhance existing products and services, and develop new products that are suitable for the older people,” she said.
“The guide is a valuable resource for businesses to be age friendly, and help them develop a plan and build momentum to deliver long-term change.”
Connected Eastern Southland Centre Coordinator Kelly Young said the Community Networking Trust was pleased to be a part of the Age Friendly Business initiative.
"This programme aligns with our vision for a healthy, resilient and connected community so it was easy to apply those principals when completing our assessment.”
The organisation reviewed its physical premise – Connected Eastern Southland – and online presence. As a result, its new website includes age diverse imagery and the option for large print viewing.
Connected Eastern Southland has upgraded its external and internal signage to be more visible, clearer and use symbols as well as words to convey what we do.
“Having the toolkit was great for our self-assessment and future planning, as it pointed out key focus areas for improvement, ensuring we continue to provide inclusive, ageappropriate services to our community,” Mrs Young said.
Ms Aitken said the initiative was not just about older people but how businesses and services can meet the needs of the whole community.
“Businesses aspiring to be age friendly are easily recognisable by the green sticker/ logo.”
Anyone wanting to sign up should go to the Ready for Living website www.readyforliving.co.nz or contact Ms Aitken, phone 021 198 0480.