Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Top tips for business

Design

  • Consider the safety of older people in your business environment. Make sure aisles and walkways aren’t cluttered and that there is enough room for wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
  • Provide easily accessible toilets including a disability access toilet.
  • Keep products where they can be reached or ensure there’s an easy way to ask for them.

Experience

  • Train staff to provide respectful and patient human contact in person and on the phone. Don’t be condescending or patronising.
  • Speak clearly and check that you’ve been understood. Train staff to recognise signs of hearing loss and/or dementia.
  • Many older people complain about being invisible or ignored. Train staff to understand the value of older people and the benefit of taking an age-friendly approach to customer service.

Communication and marketing

  • Minimise the use of jargon in your communication, especially when it comes to new technology, because some people may not be familiar with the language used.
  • Think about your typeface and fonts. Try to use 12pt or above and avoid Serif fonts like Times New Roman.
  • Consider how your signage helps people to navigate your business, ensuring it is clear and easy to read.
  • Use easy-to-understand language and simple design across all your marketing. Steer away from pastel colours when targeting older people. Use colours that are bright, bold and easy to see.
  • Depict positive images of older people in your marketing material. Many businesses neglect to include images of older people and miss the opportunity to market to them as a result.

Sound and lighting

  • Look at your environment and consider how noise and lighting might affect the experience of older customers. As people age, many will experience a reduction in hearing and/or changes in vision.
  • Avoid loud music and consider having music-free or reduced music hours during times when older customers are most likely to shop. 

  • Play a mix of music from different periods and styles. 

  • Think about having quiet areas in your business. For example, quiet tables or a private conference area. 

  • Have adequate lighting throughout the business but especially entrances, exits and hallways.
  • Lights can be used under shelves to read labels or on tables to read menus. Lighting from directly above is best since it cuts down on shadows.

Comfort

  • Provide access to seating and places to rest.
  • Consider online or instore ordering and delivery to make it more convenient for older customers.
  • Include spaces for serving people in mobility scooters or wheelchairs or people with disability who may need to sit.

What other businesses are doing

  • Pharmacies provide magnifying glasses at checkouts for people to be able to read the script on their prescriptions.
  • Banks are setting up cashiers and ATMs that can be used by someone in a wheelchair.
  • Energy companies are designing easy-to-read accounts in large, clear fonts.
  • Grocery stores have staff on hand to reach items on high or low shelves.
  • Hairdressers, restaurants and tourist attractions offer seniors discounts.

Resources available

Printable versions of this resource and many others are available for download in the Queensland: an age-friendly community toolkit.