Did you know that Age Friendly Seattle has a program that offers a range of discounts at area attractions, businesses, restaurants (and more!) to people age 60 or older, as well as adults age 18-59 with qualifying disabilities? The Age Friendly Discount Program’s Gold and FLASH Cards have been around for decades, but in the past couple of years, we’ve worked to put cards into the hands of more eligible people and to revitalize discount offerings.
Age Friendly Seattle kicked off this year with focus on several key fronts—learning what Gold cardholders want, making directory improvements, and reaching more businesses. Our aim? To better serve our community.
What Gold Cardholders want
In April, our Age Friendly graduate intern conducted a survey of Gold Cardholders. We were impressed with the response—more than 125 cardholders answered a 32-question survey about their social participation, use of their Gold Card, and demographic information. Some of you may even have participated in the survey—thank you for the great response!
Here are some highlights from our findings:
- Degree of “felt support” attributed to the Gold Card program doubled for Card users overall (47 percent for no card use vs. 93 percent for card use)
- Among current Gold Card users, 82 percent told us that this program increases their social connectivity.
- Top-requested types of businesses want to see more of in Discount Directory:
- Arts, Culture, and Entertainment
- Fitness and Recreation
- Food and Beverage (restaurants and grocery)
While user surveys suggest that this program has good value in keeping older adults socially connected, we’ve long wanted a more user-friendly directory platform for cardholders to search for locations and types of discounts that interest them. Survey feedback also indicates interest in viewing discounts located nearby, especially within one’s own neighborhood. Some cardholders and advocates expressed interest in a simple downloadable list that could be printed at home or on demand, as a complement to navigating online to view discount options.
Based on this feedback, we partnered with student consultants at UW’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate Program to improve functionality of the online directory. The team was charged with assessing and making improvements to the tools available for older adults to access local discounts through the online Age Friendly Discount Directory.
Our student consultants helped address key issues and the resulting directory improvements (to be launched later this summer) will provide an enriched experience with a searchable, printable directory list, and new interactive map displaying discount locations. Look out for these exciting changes coming soon!
Reaching the business community
Lastly, this summer and fall, Age Friendly Seattle is partnering with Community Liaisons from the Seattle Department of Neighborhood, a team that provides language support and on-the-ground outreach to area businesses to spread the word and invite more diverse businesses to consider joining the directory. Community Liaisons also lent their translation and voice-over skills to help develop a set of new Discount Directory promotional videos available in various languages, including Amharic, traditional Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and English.
Community Liaisons will also provide promotion and interpretation for upcoming Age Friendly Civic Coffee events hosted in the South Park and Southeast Seattle neighborhoods. Come join us!
Learn more about the Age Friendly Discount Program and apply for your own Gold or FLASH card now!
Contributor Meg Woolf is coordinating Age Friendly Seattle’s business initiative.