Age-Friendly Businesses in Salem
About Salem for All Ages
In November 2016, the City of Salem formally submitted its age-friendly action plan, Salem for All Ages, to the AARP and the World Health Organization, with the goal of strengthening the City’s commitment to being a community where everyone is able to comfortably and safely age in place and remain active. The process of preparing that plan started earlier that year, when the City was accepted into the AARP’s national network and WHO global network of Age Friendly communities, becoming the first City on the North Shore to join and only the third in the Commonwealth. In December 2016, AARP and WHO announced that they approved Salem’s plan and work began right away on implementation.
The Salem for All Ages Action Plan establishes a vision and action steps, based on the research completed during the study process and public input, that focuses on what AARP and WHO called the “eight domains” of an age-friendly community:
Implementation of the action steps falls to the Salem for All Ages Task Force, a group of individuals representing City departments, local agencies, community residents, and nonprofit organizations, which meets monthly to review the status of their work. Guidance for the Task Force’s priorities and focus is provided by the Salem for All Ages Leadership Council, comprised of community leaders and elected officials, which meets twice yearly to hear from the Task Force and provide feedback and recommendations. One of the action steps in the plan is the establishment of the Age-Friendly Business certification. The Salem Chamber of Commerce actively supports the Age Friendly Business Certification Initiative and encourages all Salem businesses to participate in the certification
About Age-Friendly Businesses
An age-friendly business is one in which people of all ages and abilities can comfortably shop, dine, or receive services. These businesses intentionally act to make their spaces and their operations more inclusive for customers and patrons of all ages and abilities. Actions include three general steps:
· Staff: Ensure staff are respectful, patient, and well trained to interact with all individuals.
· Space: Provide resting areas, non-slip flooring, and other physical attributes to ensure all individuals are comfortable in the business.
· Communications: Use universal symbols, clear and readable typefaces, and other features in printed or digital materials.
Some age-friendly businesses also offer discounts or special programs specifically for older adults. This is not a requirement of the certification, but it is encouraged when possible.
Why Become Certified?
Nearly 57% of consumer spending in Massachusetts is by people 50 years old or older, amounting to over $150 billion each year. Here in Salem, around 8,000 residents are over the age of 60 and that number is expected to climb to 12,000 by 2030. Older adults tend to patronize businesses earlier in the day and are likely to be extremely loyal customers. These benefits extend to Salem’s visitors, too; 47% of visitors to Salem included at least one member of their party age 55 or older. In addition, modifications and actions taken to make a business age-friendly have the ancillary benefit of also making them more welcoming to many other individuals, from parents with strollers to individuals with disabilities.
Becoming a certified Age-Friendly Business through Salem for All Ages is a terrific (and free) way to connect with these customers. As a certified business, your business is listed on the Salem for All Ages website and in the Salem for All Ages Resource Guide, which is mailed to every resident in Salem when they turn 65 years old. You’ll also have the opportunity to be featured on the Salem for All Ages social media channels and will receive a special decal you can place in your business window to show that your business is certified as age-friendly. All of these steps will increase your potential customer base and repeat customers, as well as boost customer numbers during the traditionally less busy times of day.
How do I become a certified Age-Friendly Business?
1. Complete the form on this page. Only businesses located in Salem may apply.
2. Someone from the Salem for All Ages Task Force will schedule a time to meet with you at your business. There they will go through the Age-Friendly Business checklist below. To help prepare for your meeting, be sure to gather and have with you any materials that may satisfy an item from the checklist (i.e. job descriptions, advertisements, etc.).
3. You or an employee you designate must participate in a 45-minute training on working with older adult customers. These trainings take place twice per year and are held in downtown Salem at City Hall Annex, 98 Washington Street. To find out when the next training is, call 978-619-5600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first training will take place in June 2019. In order to qualify for the June training session, applications should be submitted to the Task Force no later than Friday, May 17.
Once these three steps are completed you will receive the Salem Age-Friendly Business window decal and your business will be listed on the initiative’s website and in the resource guide. Congratulations!