Access to Information

Inability to access information about resources can limit older adults’ access to opportunities for social and civil participation, and to services.

Barriers include unavailability of printed material, no access to digital material, literacy, health literacy, visual issues, language and cultural issues. Obtaining information over the telephone can also be challenging with hearing issues, technological and other barriers.

An area of increasing concern for social participation is technology. Declining local media creates a challenge to social participation for those older adults who then are forced to use technology they may never have used before in order to access information. While cost barriers to accessing this technology as well as the internet connection that accompanies it are real, there are also barriers with regards to user friendliness as well as internal challenges, such as attitudes towards having to learn a new skill that can prevent older adults from fully participating in their communities.

Telephone Communication

• Checklist to support organizations in communicating effectively with seniors by telephone.
Reproduced from Age-Friendly Communication: Facts, Tips and Ideas, Public Health Agency of Canada.

  • Does your phone system invite callers to talk to a real person without waiting for endless messages and menu choices?
  • Does the system accommodate rotary phones?
  • Are the instructions on your automated answering system spoken clearly and slowly, with options to repeat a menu?
  • Does your message start by advising callers to have a pen and paper handy?
  • Does your system provide for TTY/teletypewriter users, to accommodate callers who are deaf or hard of hearing?
  • Does the system give callers the option of leaving a message and having someone return the call?

Age Friendly Communication – Facts, Tips and Ideas, p 19

Print Communication

Checklist for easy-to-understand print materials

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Simply Put checklist can be used to review printed materials. This will help you ensure that your materials effectively communicate to your audience in ways that it can relate to and understand.

Reproduced from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 publication Simply Put, which can be found at: Simply Put: A guide for creating easy-to-understand materials

Website Communication

Making Your Website Senior Friendly is a tip sheet offering research-based guidelines that can help you create websites that work well for older adults: Making Your Website Senior Friendly – Tip Sheet

Age-Friendly Communication: Facts, Tips and Ideas, Public Health Agency of Canada

This publication draws together a range of research findings, practical tips and advice from experts on communicating with seniors: Age-Friendly Communication – Facts, Tips and Ideas