B.C. businesses now have access to a comprehensive guide that provides information on how to create a business environment that is safe and comfortable for seniors.
Creating an Age-friendly Business in B.C. 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 across B.C. by providing tools to help them respond to an aging population. A number of B.C. 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.
B.C. is also supporting the long-term health of B.C. seniors with the launch of the $68.7-million Healthy Families BC strategy in May 2011. As the most comprehensive health-promotion program in the country, Healthy Families BC is helping British Columbians, including seniors, make the healthier choice the easier choice by offering supports to help them manage their own health and reduce chronic disease. The strategy also focuses on healthy eating, physical activity, and ensuring the Province's most vulnerable children get the best start in life.
Quotes:President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce, John Winter -
"Given the demographic realities of the baby boomer generation, accommodating older customers is becoming a necessity. New and existing businesses alike will benefit from creating an age-friendly environment. Making these adjustments will be good for businesses in B.C., and good for the health and long-term independence of all customers."
- 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.
- B.C. 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 B.C. 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.
- On June 29, 2011, the Province 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.
- On June 27, 2011, Premier Christy Clark announced $3.5 million to support an innovative project at the University of Victoria that will help seniors and people with disabilities remain as independent as possible while still living at home.
- Creating an Age-friendly Business in B.C. 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 B.C. 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.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)