Abstract: Age-Friendly Businesses: The Development of the Age-Friendly Business Index (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

302P Age-Friendly Businesses: The Development of the Age-Friendly Business Index

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Anna Faul, PhD, Professor, University of Louisville, Lousiville, KY
Pamela Yankeelov, PhD, Professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Natalie Pope, MBA, CSW, Marketing & Business Specialist, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
The involvement of older adults in businesses occurs either as employees or as customers. In terms of consumers, businesses face an aging consumer base, in which adults of 60 years and older will represent 22% of society by 2050. The employee population over age 55 has also been steadily increasing over the past several years from 11.9% in 1994 to near 21.2% in 2014. Faced with future labor shortages and changing consumer demographics, organizations must view age-friendly practices as vital to their strategic planning if they are to respond effectively to the aging population. This realization will, in turn, improve the economic stability and independence of older workers by empowering them to be more active economic contributors and by increasing the ability of persons of all ages to access organizations and services.

Once organizations view age-friendly practices to be “business smart,” businesses and organizations will become leading drivers of creating sustainable social change wherein older adults are viewed as integral and valuable in all facets of a community. This presentation seeks to report on the validation of an evidence-based, comprehensive Age-Friendly Business Index. Organizations can apply the data gained from completing the Index to create action plans for improving their age-friendly practices. By improving their age-friendly practices, organizations stand to improve the quality of life for older adults, the economic outlook of organizations and older adults, and the social climate of the community.

The Age-Friendly Business Index was developed by completing a comprehensive narrative systematic literature review, using multidisciplinary databases searching in the areas of aging, psychology, risk management, social work, urban studies, business, industry, and management. After the review a focus group was completed with 10 older adult customers, who were diverse in gender and age ranges. In-person interviews were then conducted with four practitioners who either work with older adults or who work in agencies that serve older adults. As a result of the literature review, the focus groups and the in-person interviews, the Index was developed. The Index consisted of eight domains, namely outside environment, inside environment, customer service, marketing and promotion, technology, organizational culture, employment practices, and dementia-friendly practices.

The validation study of the Index used data from 35 businesses and evaluated the original 195 age-friendly indicators within the eight domains. An expert review reduced the original number of indicators to 145. The validation study used optimal quantification to treat the multivariate categorical data structure of the Index. Categorical Principal Components Analysis (CATPCA) showed an eight-dimensional structure. A bootstrap analysis confirmed the solution was not sample specific. Internal consistency (Cronbach Alpha) for the determinants were as follows: outside environment = 0.73, inside environment = 0.68, customer service = 0.62, marketing and promotion = 0.65, technology = 0.67, organizational culture = 0.66, employment practices = 0.72, and dementia-friendly practices = 0.64.

The preliminary analysis of the Age-Friendly Business Index shows promise for the usability of the Index to provide businesses insight into how they can adapt current environments, practices, and procedures to become age-friendly.