Business Solutions

Since 2005, Lifestyles over 50 has worked with hundreds of businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to better communicate with baby boomers, seniors and caregivers. These services have included strategic planning, marketing consulting, video production, web design, graphic design, market studies, focus groups, benchmark reporting and more through the publishing owner Thrive Media. From the needs of our clients we also created several packaged content services for white label content and customized content. 

Retailers, service companies and other businesses are rethinking everything from marketing to operations to cater to the needs of aging boomers and seniors
Universal design is a term that has been pushed into the mainstream by residential real estate. It includes environments that are inherently accessible to older people and those with disabilities. A universal design home often has no steps, higher electrical outlets, door levers (not knobs), kitchen cabinets with roll out shelves, and much more. Universal design makes living easier for all and offers no drawbacks for the able bodied.


Universal design also applies to a broad-spectrum of ideas in creating and building environments, products, and services. Leaders in business, government, education and nonprofit sectors should consider universal design concepts in product design, customer service and in all facets of an organization.
Several years ago it came out that major companies were investing millions of dollars to cater to aging baby boomers (see this WSJ article). Major brands of consumer goods changed the packaging of their products, pharmacies repositioned vitamins and medicines, grocery chains altered shelf heights, restaurants increased lighting and font sizes for improved menu readability and the list goes on.
If you own or manage an organization that caters to boomers and seniors there are several considerations to enhance their experience, and most importantly, not make them feel old.


Sight


One of the first of the senses to weaken is sight. Consider increasing font size, white space, and contrasting colors in marketing, packaging, instruction manuals, service agreements and other communications. Also, older eyes have difficultly in low light situations. Many retail stores and hospitality organizations have increased the brightness and lighting to show off products, enhance service and client experience. This can even affect how a business decorates its interiors and illuminates walkways and steps.


Touch


The dexterity of one's hands is often affected by age and sometimes further exacerbated by arthritis. Products that require hand and wrist strength have reengineered caps, tops, and packaging to allow for easy and convenient opening and closing. Many locations will also install additional railings and grab bars. Retail locations that once offered polished floors now have low-rise carpeting to prevent falls. Levers and handles are also added to products to offer better grips, and seniors are offered coffee mugs with handles in lieu of a paper cup. Display cases and shelves have also been resized for greater accessibility.

Hearing


The last consideration is hearing. Customer service representatives and sales people should talk slower and enunciate their words while on the phone. This is also important in face-to-face conversations. These soft skills are many times overlooked by employers when training new millennial hires.
Additionally, some establishments have eliminated background noise by turning off ambient music or installing acoustic panels.

The most important thing, like in any business, is to make the customer feel valued, but not make them feel old. The key is to make subtle, functional changes at your organization and continue offering style and quality.


Since 2005 Jeff Tintle 2.0, managing director of THRIVE Media, has helped hundreds of health care and senior care businesses with their strategy, sales and marketing through his monthly publication Lifestyles over 50 and industry-related solutions. More information can be found at ThriveMedia.us, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 855-233-7034.

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