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Mary Lake Polan believes NYAM’s Age-friendly Local Business initiative is so important that she decided to invest in it.
Dr. Polan knows that, with a rapidly growing aging population, the needs of older adult consumers cannot be overlooked. In New York City, as in many other larger cities, this consumer base helps to drive our economy.
Moreover, Dr. Polan knew instinctively that this business initiative would be an important model for businesses around the nation—big and small—to embrace if they were serious about understanding the needs of their older shoppers.
Dr. Polan, a member of the NYAM Board of Trustees, recently provided funding for a critical study comparing a small sample of businesses newly enrolled in the Age-friendly Local Business Initiative with a matched sample of non‐participating businesses.
The grant was made through the Bennack-Polan Foundation, which she founded with her husband, Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chief Executive Officer Hearst Corporation.
“I thought the concept of trying to improve the age-friendly business initiative would be a real incentive to enlist more businesses,” Dr. Polan said. “The concept would not only benefit older adults, it would have a profitable impact on the businesses themselves. To me, it was the ideal project.”
The survey found that the majority of participating stores reported an increase in cash receipts over the study period, whereas the non-participating stores reported flat or declining cash receipts over the same period. In addition, participating business owners said the initiative helped to increase awareness about the needs of older customers, especially among younger employees, and provided useful guidelines to help improve customer service for this growing market.
Dr. Polan noted the importance of this initiative in the context of the rapidly changing landscape of aging in New York and across the nation.
“All you have to do is to look at the demographics and it becomes very clear that you have to support age-friendly,” Dr. Polan said. “For older adults, it is all about mobility. If people are mobile they can get around and engage with others in their communities rather than remaining isolated in their homes."
Dr. Polan said she hopes the preliminary data from the survey can provide evidence to convince local businesses to become age-friendly. And she is optimistic that her colleagues on the NYAM board and, indeed, donors at large, will see the value in supporting critical initiatives at NYAM such as the Age-friendly Local Business initiative.
“There are many unique and valuable programs and projects of NYAM that are worthy of funding,” Dr. Polan said. “The most important thing is to find something that is exciting and important to you. And NYAM offers plenty of opportunities for funding that can make a difference.”
Please join Dr. Polan by supporting NYAM’s Age-friendly initiatives today.
Posted on January 16, 2013
Andrew J. Martin
Director of Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10029
Reporters: to arrange interviews with NYAM medical and urban health experts, contact
Andrew J. Martin, Director of Communications
212-822-7285 / firstname.lastname@example.org
This report identifies opportunities that build on both the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) and New York’s ongoing efforts toward improving the health of its 19 million residents.
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