Make Your Business More Age-Friendly During Active Aging Week

October 5th-11th is Active Aging Week. Locally, Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County is working to meet the needs and engage the strengths of all citizens toward the goal of building a community for all ages. Part of that work is ensuring that our City is accessible for older adults. Between 2006 and 2016, the population of Americans ages 60 and better increased by 36%. This means that potentially there are 68.7 million customers who would love to shop with you! Many of Portland’s neighborhood businesses have already taken steps to make their spaces and communications more inviting and enjoyable for all ages. Here are a few tips from the ADA to help make your business more age-friendly:

  • Curbside Pickup is a safe, efficient and accessible way for older adults to easily make purchases. Businesses can apply through PBOT to have a temporary drop off/pick up space designated in front of their business. Some older adults may not be able to wear a mask due to health concerns so make sure to train your staff to empathize and to wear a mask themselves when serving older adults.
  • Nearby parking ensures patrons with diminished heart and lung function have strength left after entering your business to shop, enjoy entertainment, or eat heartily.
  • Clear, wide paths without stairs to your business’s entrance and throughout leave room for canes and walkers and accommodate people with reduced mobility and stamina.
  • Minimum-weight doors with accessible hardware are easily opened by people who have arthritis or use a cane for extra balance. For heavier doors, automatic and power-assisted openers are helpful to everyone.
  • Less clutter in entrances and aisles results in easier navigation for people with lessened visual acuity and entry mats absorb moisture and reduce slip hazards.
  • Bright, glare-free lighting on merchandise and pathways enables people with cataracts or aging eyes to shop and make purchases more easily.
  • Precise directional and informational signage in high-contrast colors with clear, large type and good lighting make shopping more comfortable for people with diminished short-term memory or vision loss.
  • Assistive listening systems that are easily and discreetly obtained along with ushers who speak distinctly and at proper volume provide great help for people who are beginning to lose their hearing and may or may not use hearing aids.
  • Captioning on promotional, special event, and exhibition videos for people with hearing loss or cognitive changes ensure the message is not lost in the ambient sound and music.
  • Large, clear type, in high contrast colors in printed programs, advertisements, and brochures with a satin or matte-finish paper are more legible for people with vision changes due to age. Include a phone number so older adults can speak with a live person for assistance. 
  • Visually accessible websites with text written clearly and simply, relevant images and navigational instructions, make interested but less-seasoned older adult web users comfortable enough to shop and purchase online.

Celebrate Active Aging Week next week and every week by taking steps to make sure your business is age-friendly. Your customers will thank you for it. For more information visit