FOCUS ON SENIORS: A golden opportunity

Opinion Mar 26, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) is committed to provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.

As part of a new initiative that looks at age-friendly business, GRCOA will partner with the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant to present a seminar on age-friendly planning for business. This event, free to chamber members, takes place on Thursday, April 16, at 8:30 a.m. at the chamber office at 77 Charlotte St. As education and awareness is a large part of GRCOA’s mandate, this informative and interactive seminar is its first attempt to create awareness for businesses about the changing needs of their older customers, clients, patients and employees.

There are many different definitions for age-friendliness. Authors Dick Stroud and Kim Walker describe it as “an environment where the needs of older people are met in a way that is beneficial for all ages.”

To implement this concept, which is perfect in its simplicity, it will require a dramatic shift for businesses. Can companies create and implement age-friendly strategies that become part of their culture? The reality is that in order to remain competitive, they must.

At present, there are 41,000 people over the age of 55 living in the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. Expected to rise to more than 59,000 in just 15 years, this number will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population. These numbers represent a lot of buying power.

The aging population is no longer just an academic debate between statisticians and gerontologist. It has now become an issue of significant importance.

The changing demographics will affect companies of all sizes – small and large. For those that already target older people, their focus may be to change or update marketing tactics. However, for those firms which have not been dependent on older customers – or have given very little thought to this aging phenomenon – their challenge is harder to define.

When attempting to respond to an aging market, businesses often don’t know where to begin.

And no wonder; complicating matters is the reality that the needs and wishes of men and women are quite different. So, too, are the needs between those living below the poverty line and those who are wealthy.

How can companies respond?

According to the UN, as early as 2020, one billion people will be 60 years of age or older. Through the lens of business planning and strategy, this creates a market of huge opportunity. These new seniors will have unique preferences that will be vastly different from any previous senior demographic.

People turning 65 years of age today are more educated, self-aware and self-reliant than ever before. While they may not know where to go to obtain the service they require, they have the skills and knowledge to source out those locations and will demand the best – the best products, the best services and the best options for whatever they’re looking for.

And they will not hesitate to demand the best.

Here are a few questions for your business to consider:

  • Does your business provide for people with reduced mobility and balance?
  • Does your business value customer service and promise to treat everyone with the utmost consideration and respect?
  • Are the letters and symbols in your printed materials easy to read?
  • Have you taken into consideration what trip and fall hazards might exist in your business and taken steps to remove or reduce these barriers?
Recently, GRCOA board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade were invited to conduct a workshop for the Toronto Council on Aging. The focus of the workshop was age-friendly business and more than 100 participants from the 145 separate and distinct neighbourhoods that encompass the City of Toronto were in attendance.

Throughout the day, table discussions focused on the following types of businesses: banking, large grocery stores, corner or convenience stores, medical or professional offices, insurance and law offices, clothing stores, shopping malls, drug stores, pharmacies, manufacturing plants, movie theatres, entertainment, sports venues, travel companies and hotel or motels.

While the final results from this workshop have yet to be tabulated, the general consensus regarding the top priority for seniors and older adults when choosing products or services, comes down to the level of customer service they received and whether or not they were treated with respect.

Other topics for the upcoming event at the Chamber of Commerce include “dispelling the myths of aging” and “what silver tsunami?”

Space is limited, so be sure to register soon. We hope to see you at the chamber on Thursday, April 16. Call 519-753-2617 to book a spot.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: A golden opportunity

Making businesses age-friendly will boost sales

Opinion Mar 26, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) is committed to provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.

As part of a new initiative that looks at age-friendly business, GRCOA will partner with the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant to present a seminar on age-friendly planning for business. This event, free to chamber members, takes place on Thursday, April 16, at 8:30 a.m. at the chamber office at 77 Charlotte St. As education and awareness is a large part of GRCOA’s mandate, this informative and interactive seminar is its first attempt to create awareness for businesses about the changing needs of their older customers, clients, patients and employees.

There are many different definitions for age-friendliness. Authors Dick Stroud and Kim Walker describe it as “an environment where the needs of older people are met in a way that is beneficial for all ages.”

To implement this concept, which is perfect in its simplicity, it will require a dramatic shift for businesses. Can companies create and implement age-friendly strategies that become part of their culture? The reality is that in order to remain competitive, they must.

At present, there are 41,000 people over the age of 55 living in the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. Expected to rise to more than 59,000 in just 15 years, this number will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population. These numbers represent a lot of buying power.

The aging population is no longer just an academic debate between statisticians and gerontologist. It has now become an issue of significant importance.

The changing demographics will affect companies of all sizes – small and large. For those that already target older people, their focus may be to change or update marketing tactics. However, for those firms which have not been dependent on older customers – or have given very little thought to this aging phenomenon – their challenge is harder to define.

When attempting to respond to an aging market, businesses often don’t know where to begin.

And no wonder; complicating matters is the reality that the needs and wishes of men and women are quite different. So, too, are the needs between those living below the poverty line and those who are wealthy.

How can companies respond?

According to the UN, as early as 2020, one billion people will be 60 years of age or older. Through the lens of business planning and strategy, this creates a market of huge opportunity. These new seniors will have unique preferences that will be vastly different from any previous senior demographic.

People turning 65 years of age today are more educated, self-aware and self-reliant than ever before. While they may not know where to go to obtain the service they require, they have the skills and knowledge to source out those locations and will demand the best – the best products, the best services and the best options for whatever they’re looking for.

And they will not hesitate to demand the best.

Here are a few questions for your business to consider:

  • Does your business provide for people with reduced mobility and balance?
  • Does your business value customer service and promise to treat everyone with the utmost consideration and respect?
  • Are the letters and symbols in your printed materials easy to read?
  • Have you taken into consideration what trip and fall hazards might exist in your business and taken steps to remove or reduce these barriers?
Recently, GRCOA board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade were invited to conduct a workshop for the Toronto Council on Aging. The focus of the workshop was age-friendly business and more than 100 participants from the 145 separate and distinct neighbourhoods that encompass the City of Toronto were in attendance.

Throughout the day, table discussions focused on the following types of businesses: banking, large grocery stores, corner or convenience stores, medical or professional offices, insurance and law offices, clothing stores, shopping malls, drug stores, pharmacies, manufacturing plants, movie theatres, entertainment, sports venues, travel companies and hotel or motels.

While the final results from this workshop have yet to be tabulated, the general consensus regarding the top priority for seniors and older adults when choosing products or services, comes down to the level of customer service they received and whether or not they were treated with respect.

Other topics for the upcoming event at the Chamber of Commerce include “dispelling the myths of aging” and “what silver tsunami?”

Space is limited, so be sure to register soon. We hope to see you at the chamber on Thursday, April 16. Call 519-753-2617 to book a spot.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: A golden opportunity

Making businesses age-friendly will boost sales

Opinion Mar 26, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) is committed to provide a voice for seniors that will have influence and impact on planning for an age-friendly community.

As part of a new initiative that looks at age-friendly business, GRCOA will partner with the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant to present a seminar on age-friendly planning for business. This event, free to chamber members, takes place on Thursday, April 16, at 8:30 a.m. at the chamber office at 77 Charlotte St. As education and awareness is a large part of GRCOA’s mandate, this informative and interactive seminar is its first attempt to create awareness for businesses about the changing needs of their older customers, clients, patients and employees.

There are many different definitions for age-friendliness. Authors Dick Stroud and Kim Walker describe it as “an environment where the needs of older people are met in a way that is beneficial for all ages.”

To implement this concept, which is perfect in its simplicity, it will require a dramatic shift for businesses. Can companies create and implement age-friendly strategies that become part of their culture? The reality is that in order to remain competitive, they must.

At present, there are 41,000 people over the age of 55 living in the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. Expected to rise to more than 59,000 in just 15 years, this number will represent 35.2 per cent of the total population. These numbers represent a lot of buying power.

The aging population is no longer just an academic debate between statisticians and gerontologist. It has now become an issue of significant importance.

The changing demographics will affect companies of all sizes – small and large. For those that already target older people, their focus may be to change or update marketing tactics. However, for those firms which have not been dependent on older customers – or have given very little thought to this aging phenomenon – their challenge is harder to define.

When attempting to respond to an aging market, businesses often don’t know where to begin.

And no wonder; complicating matters is the reality that the needs and wishes of men and women are quite different. So, too, are the needs between those living below the poverty line and those who are wealthy.

How can companies respond?

According to the UN, as early as 2020, one billion people will be 60 years of age or older. Through the lens of business planning and strategy, this creates a market of huge opportunity. These new seniors will have unique preferences that will be vastly different from any previous senior demographic.

People turning 65 years of age today are more educated, self-aware and self-reliant than ever before. While they may not know where to go to obtain the service they require, they have the skills and knowledge to source out those locations and will demand the best – the best products, the best services and the best options for whatever they’re looking for.

And they will not hesitate to demand the best.

Here are a few questions for your business to consider:

  • Does your business provide for people with reduced mobility and balance?
  • Does your business value customer service and promise to treat everyone with the utmost consideration and respect?
  • Are the letters and symbols in your printed materials easy to read?
  • Have you taken into consideration what trip and fall hazards might exist in your business and taken steps to remove or reduce these barriers?
Recently, GRCOA board president Lucy Marco and vice president Jean Kincade were invited to conduct a workshop for the Toronto Council on Aging. The focus of the workshop was age-friendly business and more than 100 participants from the 145 separate and distinct neighbourhoods that encompass the City of Toronto were in attendance.

Throughout the day, table discussions focused on the following types of businesses: banking, large grocery stores, corner or convenience stores, medical or professional offices, insurance and law offices, clothing stores, shopping malls, drug stores, pharmacies, manufacturing plants, movie theatres, entertainment, sports venues, travel companies and hotel or motels.

While the final results from this workshop have yet to be tabulated, the general consensus regarding the top priority for seniors and older adults when choosing products or services, comes down to the level of customer service they received and whether or not they were treated with respect.

Other topics for the upcoming event at the Chamber of Commerce include “dispelling the myths of aging” and “what silver tsunami?”

Space is limited, so be sure to register soon. We hope to see you at the chamber on Thursday, April 16. Call 519-753-2617 to book a spot.