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Grocery Shopping Tips and Alternatives for Seniors

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Grocery Shopping Tips and Alternatives for SeniorsMost young adults do not give grocery shopping a second thought but for the elderly it can be one of the most daunting tasks. Maneuvering heavy shopping carts, reading the fine print on packaging and price labels and trying to sort through the range of brands can be difficult, to say the least, for seniors. However, not all seniors are fortunate enough to have companions, family, friends or elderly sitters to assist them with shopping. A few simple measures can greatly ease the difficulty of a shopping trip for seniors.

Why shopping may be difficult for seniors?

With age there are many changes in the body that can make an otherwise simple task like shopping very difficult. Deterioration of eyesight, loss of muscle strength and coordination, bone and joint degeneration, and impaired mental faculties like memory occur as a person gets older are just some of the reasons that seniors may experience some difficulty when shopping. However, it can be even more severe when there is underlying diseases of the eyes, muscles, nerves, brain, bones and joints. Medication can also compromise some of these abilities. Both these chronic diseases and chronic medication are more likely factors for seniors than younger adults.

Grocery shopping is one of those everyday tasks that requires all of these faculties and abilities. From picking up heavy items, negotiating the narrow aisles with a full trolley, reading the small print on pricing and packaging and trying to remember specific brands among a vast inventory of items are some of the challenges that face the elderly. Even a simple task like identifying the correct denomination of bank notes at check out can be difficult. Therefore very few other tasks are as difficult for seniors as grocery shopping in particular. Yet it is a necessary activity for every person.

Helpful Tips for Shopping

Sometimes the simplest of measures can make a grocery shopping trip less difficult for the elderly.

  • Shop at larger chain stores with wider aisles and sufficient staff to assist you.
  • Always make a shopping list over several days before you embark on a shopping trip.
  • Jot down your preferred brand of the product rather than just the item as packaging can be confusing.
  • Clearly note foods and ingredients that you need to avoid or are irritants for certain diseases as this can assist with making the correct purchasing decisions.
  • Carry reading glasses or even a magnifying glass to help with reading the fine print. Never hesitate to ask the store staff for help in reading very small text.
  • Select stores with special parking for the elderly close to the entrance and exit.
  • Eat before shopping as studies have shown that hunger can influence buying decisions.

Alternatives for Shopping

Traditional shopping by personally going to your nearest grocery store and negotiating the aisles may not always be necessary. The elderly are at times embarrassed to admit that a simple task like grocery shopping is becoming a difficult chore and therefore do not seek alternatives. At times it is also a matter of independence and personal preference in selecting your own items. However, there are several alternative options that can ease this task.

  • Many local grocers will gladly take down your shopping list over the phone and dispatch a delivery person to leave it at your door. Using a grocer who is aware of your personal preference and buying habits will make this an easier task.
  • Large supermarkets have online shopping facilities where you can purchase items from the comfort of your home. Having your monitor set for larger view, magnification screens and even screen readers can help you choose the correct items, read the ingredients and even compare the prices on your computer. These stores with online facilities often have efficient delivery services to drop the goods at your door.
  • Hire an elderly sitter who is willing to take you shopping and do the actual buying for you or will go on their own with your shopping list in hand. Many sitters are accustomed to doing such tasks for seniors and will charge a nominal rate for this service, possibly below their hourly rate for actually assisting you.

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