Just in time for International Seniors Day, Interior Savings became the first financial institution in British Columbia to become a Certified Age-Friendly Business (CAFB).
For the first time ever, we have more people in Canada who are 65 and over than we do children 15 and under and that gap is expected to widen. According to Kathy Conway, Interior Savings CEO, ‘there has never been a more important time to break down the stigmas surrounding age and to build a more inclusive and respectful community.’
As part of its goal to become a leader in reducing ageism while also raising the standard of service for those aged 50+, Interior Savings set an intention early this year to provide Age Friendly Business training to all its staff. The program, developed by the Age Friendly Business Academy, raises awareness about some of the key and sometimes subtle challenges associated with getting older, and better prepares staff to offer an exceptional experience to their members.
‘I applaud Interior Savings for training all of their staff with a foundation course on changes associated with aging,’ commented Dr. Mary Ann Murphy, associate professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Social Work and Department of Sociology. ‘The enthusiasm and willingness of this credit union to respect, include, and consider the needs of an aging population demonstrates their foresight in understanding and anticipating rising life expectancy, the international phenomenon of global aging, the imminent growth in the Boomer cohort, and the growing awareness that issues of ageing are linked to human rights. A recent American Association of Retired Persons report on age-friendly banking highlighted some interesting international ‘best practices’ but also demonstrated that most of these innovations are focused on adapting technology for older clients. Interior Savings’ investment and innovation stands out because they recognize the lasting centrality of human relationships as a core business priority.’
Ageism is an important social issue to tackle and many businesses like Interior Savings are working to change how we see and serve older adults. Interior Savings would like to encourage other local businesses to consider pursuing this same certification.
‘We have a role to play in helping to create a community where we feel welcome, acknowledged, safe, and respected,’ said Conway. ‘We are honoured to be able to play a part in making our community a place we would all want to age into.’
For a business to earn the Age Friendly Business Certification, 75 per cent of its employees must complete the training. To date, nearly 90 per cent of Interior Savings’ 500 employees have successfully completed this program.