Shopping With Family

6 Ideas to Make Shopping Together Easier
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It's a common family caregiver dilemma: You have to run errands, but they can be taxing when done with your loved one, who may want or need to come along.

Consider shaping your shopping in these ways to lower everybody's stress:

1. Alternate whose week it is.

Sometimes the frustration over shopping stems from a clash of priorities. You have yours, and your loved one has his or her own. Instead of mixing your errands together, try alternating weeks (or certain days of the week). On your loved one's day, let it be all about him or her, so you're not simmering with frustration over not getting all your choices made. Bonus: Include a stop for ice cream, coffee, or a meal at a favorite restaurant to make a special outing of it.

2. Drop off your loved one at the door, if necessary.

Sometimes this can be even faster than using handicapped parking. In the time it takes your loved one to navigate from curb to door, you can park and meet him or her. (Obviously this isn't an option if the person has significant dementia or a physical impairment that requires your help.)

3. Ditch the big box store.

Remember that bar on the old TV show Cheers, the place "where everybody knows your name"? Those are the kinds of retail establishments worth seeking out for errands with your loved one. The locally owned drugstore, gift store, hardware store, or market may not have the best prices in town, but the rapport and connection you tend to get can be priceless. In addition to personalized attention -- cherished by many older adults who don't get out often -- the spaces tend to be smaller and therefore more manageable. And sometimes fewer choices on the shelves is a good thing!

4. Use a shopping cart -- even if you only need an item or two.

They're like a giant walker, something to stabilize your loved one, who can lean against one for support. Many older adults who refuse to use walkers just love shopping carts. Beware power chairs, which can vary from store to store -- some move too quickly and others aren't charged enough or have been misused by kids, making them difficult to operate.

5. Don't overachieve.

When getting in and out of the car is an ordeal, three different stops (shoe repair, drugstore, dry cleaner) can be a lot. Limit how much you try to do in one swoop. Instead of one big shopping day, you might need two mornings.

6. Check out just how many items can be home delivered.

Depending on your community, you may be able to get medications from drugstores, dry cleaning, and milk and other groceries delivered to your home by large chains or by local mom-and-pop operations. The service can cost a bit extra, but it may be worthwhile if it spares you that trip to make during the week.


almost 3 years ago, said...

making a special day for shopping just for their things and another day for your things.


over 3 years ago, said...

I am a man...anything helps us to learn how to shop...nature of our species


over 4 years ago, said...

I have been told that when I shop I can make a list and go to the store manager and they will get what I need for me. I have not tried this yet but may in time. If you use a computer and can order on line and have things delivered that is ok, nothing is as good as shopping for yourself but sometimes 80% will have to do and the olden days of 100% and our pride just has to take a back seat. Funny how it is the simple things in life that we miss the most eh?


over 4 years ago, said...

Mother has alzheimer's, mac degeneration badly, poor hearing even with hearing aides so she can no longer distinguish bright colors I used to wear so she could find me. We use the basket, I use handicap parking and fear to drop her off now as she tends to walk into traffic, and she cannot hear me unless I speak directly into her face and then she cannot understand me very well. I have found she needs to feel needed and useful so she pushes the cart, I no longer ask what she wants but now tell her we are getting this and that which are things she enjoys, easier on her not making decisions and at the point where just getting out and being in a different place is the goal and everything else is a moot point. As I now see she cannot be trusted for 1 moment alone and tends to have to use the rest room often so I go to the same places, I find every bathroom and take her when needed. Turning my back to pick up a sympathy card nearly cost me my mother as she slipped away into the sea of people in the store in a hot second. Like a 2 yr old. SO I bought her a bracelet with her info on it, I got many bright scarves I put on her shoulders so she is easier to spot, and I do not let her carry a purse, only her cane. This is hard because if I do loose her and they call her name over the intercom she cannot hear or understand. If anyone has any more safety ideas I would love them.


over 4 years ago, said...

kinda funny that you posted this article because my family is having issues when it comes to my shopping. I try to make it as easy as possible but when i run out of lets say meds or food i have to push the issue and i dont think they understand! I really wish i could do it my self but being homebound and having phase 3 lymphedema in both lower legs its hard to walk and impossible to drive! I only ask for help once or twice a month but i feel bad when i get the "look" when they dont have time i know they have their life and are really busy. They are the only people i trust with my finances. Its just sooo frustrating cause i turn 40 this year and i have such troble doing things like shopping. Anyway thanks for reading this if you have any suggestions please comment and have a great day!


over 4 years ago, said...

Just before reading this article, I decided that sending my husband to the store with his caregiver would help him (he wants to help me but can't understand our financial affairs anymore) and help ME, by offloading me to work on the business. I've done all the shopping myself so far I guess because I didn't trust anybody to do it for me (!) but they've been going to the post office to pick up the mail every day and also put gas in the car--why not add daily "marketing"? So all hints regarding shopping are applicable! Thank you!


over 4 years ago, said...

When taking Mom to the store, each take a shopping cart and a list. Your longer list can be the staples, and her shorter list can be the things that she likes to take time choosing. Then meet to combine the items.


over 4 years ago, said...

The article's suggestions were all common sense! Anyone living with any impairment or helping someone who is limited already knows and about and does these things.