North Western Brooklyn

How Can Myrtle Avenue Businesses Serve Older Adults Better? Seniors Have Plenty Of Ideas

marp age friendly forum

Myrtle Avenue businesses are teaming up to become more age-friendly for the local senior population in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. As part of an initiative spearheaded by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership / Revitalization Project (MARP), between 15 and 63 businesses — there are 84 businesses on the Myrtle Avenue corridor — have either expressed interest in offering specials or already offer a senior discount.

Myrtle Drug Care, Corkscrew Wines, Sandbox Pack and Ship, Move with Grace, and Just Because Hair Therapy Salon are among those businesses who are making efforts to be senior-friendly and age-friendly.

“We do on-site packing and shipping, faxes and copying and will come visit mature adults where they need the services,” said K. Wray, manager at Sandbox (417 Myrtle Avenue). “And we offer a 15 percent discount [to seniors].”

Myrtle Drug Care (355 Myrtle Avenue) noted that they do free delivery and pick-ups, while Karin Torres of Corkscrew Wines (489 Myrtle Avenue) said they welcome any age into their store and have no minimum for delivery, Move With Grace (469 Myrtle Avenue) said they offer classes designed for older adults, and Just Because Hair Therapy said they offer $10 off on Sundays.

“Businesses are a key part [of this effort] and we are excited to see them participate,” said Meredith Phillips Almeida, MARP’s executive director. “If they don’t already offer a discount or other services, they’re interested in helping. Because as the community evolves, older adults remain loyal customers.”

This loyalty was on display at a community forum held last Monday, April 20, at the Ingersoll Community Center, where nearly 75 seniors, senior advocates, students, community leaders, and merchants gathered to brainstorm answers to two questions:

  1. How can local businesses serve you better?
  2. What healthy lifestyle programs would you like?

marp age friendly forum 2

In answer to that first question (we’ll discuss the ideas borne out of the second question in a separate post later this week), Beverly Eamons of the Good Neighbor Project suggested “a delivery option from local businesses” and retired social worker Anne Everette suggested that stores “offer discounts that are staggered over different days so people who can’t get out one day don’t miss out [all week or longer].”

“We also need more than one pharmacy that’s open 24 hours, and one that delivers,” added Everette.

Nerlande Malvoisin of Healthfirst agreed, noting that information such as discounts, delivery options and hours need to be “advertised better.” In response, Julia Shaw, director of the Willoughby Senior Center, suggested “a master list of notices” that could be available at local senior centers, shops and elsewhere, to help “keep up awareness.”

Safety was another concern brought up during the brainstorming session, with Edwina Glasco asking for more lighting along and on streets branching off of the shopping corridor.

Other ideas were for a need for improved transportation options — such as shuttles and delivery services to and from stores — as well as increased “access to affordable, quality food” and more volunteer and part-time paid work opportunities.

Phillips Almeida said that all of these ideas and more that have been compiled by MARP and a Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Senior Advisory Council will be reviewed and prioritized into small and large projects.

marp mobile post office form

Two of those upcoming projects are: advocating for a weekly mobile post office on Myrtle Avenue and researching the possibility of a “local jitney” to provide free transportation.

The MARP forum was co-sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine, which oversees the city’s Age-Friendly NYC program, which already designates senior communities in East Harlem, Upper West Side, Bedford–Stuyvesant as age-friendly neighborhoods. Support for Myrtle Avenue’s effort also comes from New York Community Trust.

What do you think businesses can do to help seniors and those with limited mobility?

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