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Age-Friendly Pilot Program in Boston

Boston Launches Age-Friendly Pilot Program

Mayor Walsh in West Roxbury
Mayor Walsh greets business owners and community members while awarding age-friendly business designations in West Roxbury.
Saraya Wintersmith/WGBH News
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Age-Friendly Pilot Program in Boston

After today, you might see a bright blue sticker in the windows of some Boston businesses. That’s because the city is rolling out a new recognition for establishments to make things easier for elderly customers.

To get the new designation and the window decal, business owners have to attend a mandatory training, then relay their new knowledge to their staff. Businesses also have to browse a list of about 30 "age-friendly" adjustments and commit to seven of them.

Ten businesses — including a real estate company, restaurants and healthcare providers — received the first certificates. All are located in West Roxbury.

Andrea Burns, director of Boston's Age-Friendly Initiative, said Thursday the city’s older population is growing.

“We really wanted to make sure that, because we knew businesses were going to be interacting with more older residents, that we really had the tools and the skills that were required and necessary in order to accommodate those older residents,” Burns said.

The city’s Elderly Commission worked with older residents and businesses, she explained, to identify no and low-cost changes that could be made to benefit older patrons. The Age and Dementia Friendly Business Checklist includes changes like making restrooms and service counters wheelchair accessible, clearly marking glass doors and providing resting areas near entrances to buildings.

City officials launched the pilot from a bagel and coffee shop in West Roxbury — the Boston neighborhood with the highest percentage of residents 65 or older.

The ten West Roxbury businesses now deemed "age and dementia friendly" are: Local 338 Bagels and Coffee, Parkway Real Estate, Cryotherapy, West on Centre, Health Express, BCYF Roche Center, Human Harmonies, Milton Chiropractic and Bay State Physical Therapy, Recreo Coffee and Roasterie, and Parkway Hearing.

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