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This Is Getting Old Podcast with Melissa B PhD

Aug 3, 2021

Are businesses in your city going the age-friendly path? If they are not, they make up the many companies worldwide that are missing out on this crucial initiative that supports and benefits senior consumers.

In this episode, I provide essential yet often forgotten things that businesses should include in their spaces to accommodate the needs and ensure the continued patronage of older adults. It makes common sense that the more comfortable an establishment is for older people, it will also be comfortable for others.

An age-friendly business means it's friendly for EVERYONE.
-Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN

Key points covered in this episode:

Tip #1: Readable Receipts. Normal aging causes presbyopia - which is farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age. With things opening back up in a post-COVID world, I can't tell you the number of people my own age who get their check, and they're like, "what does that say?! So we need a better process and format for receipts!

Tip #2: Adapt Service to Improve Hearing. My friends and I frequently go to The Wine House for wine tastings. Typically, the sommelier stands in the middle of the room and discusses the wines, but the people at the tables can't hear a word being said - and what happens when people can't hear you? They start talking to themselves, resulting in more chatter and background noise. In activities such as this, it is best to invest in a system with a microphone and use overhead speakers and ensure an excellent experience for your customers.

Tip #3: Increase and Contrast Menu Font. Use a white background with dark, bold lettering that's at least a 12 to 14 font size (at a minimum). If you can have an iPad or any type of device where people can magnify and make the font as big as they need it to be, it is advisable.

Tip #4: Use Technology to Improve Accessibility. Another way to have an age-friendly menu is if you're able to use some electronic device that has a text reader option. This would also allow for greener updates to the menu and use of multiple languages for diverse customers.

Tip #5: Have a Magnifying Mirror in Your Bathroom. One of the things you need to do before you leave the restaurant is to make sure you don't have anything stuck in your teeth or that your hair/ makeup are good to go! A magnifying mirror with a light on it in the bathroom will help people see and check themselves out before they go out the door!

About Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN:

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my Ph.D. in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about her work at