Tips for Shopping with the Elderly

Older people need increasing support as they face more challenges every day. Unfortunately, they often suffer health problems that limit their mobility and make independence seem impossible. However, it is important to get your elderly loved ones out of the house, exercise, and socialize as much as possible. As they still experience more changes, it would be a nice gesture to make them feel that we still need them and enjoy spending time together. One way is through shopping.

A shopping spree can be the perfect outing that gives aging parents a chance to better manage their lives by choosing the groceries, clothing, and personal items they need. Yes, bringing them to shopping may seem an arduous task. Large malls may contain hazards posing a threat to our beloved active seniors. But there are several ways to make the journey easier for you. Let this article be your guide to the things you need to remember before you enjoy shopping with the elderly.

1. Make a list

Listing down the things you and your elderly need is a time saver. And writing down your needed products makes a lesser chance of buying the same product twice. Another important reason for creating the list is to effectively make the trip with planned routes. You can avoid aisles with items not on the list, creating an efficient time for both of you while saving much physical effort.

2. Choose an accessible shopping store

Whether the elderly you care for is walking unaided or in a wheelchair, accessibility is very important. Narrow aisles, stairs, and tight intersections increase the risk of falls, trips, and slips. After making your list and possible routes, check to see if the shops you plan to visit have wide aisles, easy access, and assistive devices such as elevators and escalators.

If you are unsure of the shop’s accessibility, please get in touch with your administrator for clarification. Better yet, go to the store ahead of time and assess the facility for yourself.


3. Prepare your elderly’s needs

Before leaving the house, ensure you have everything you need for your shopping trip. Double-check if you have the needed medications, canes, walkers, and even something to nibble on if both of you get hungry.

4. Shop during early daylight hours

Going to the shop early in the morning avoids much of the stress that comes with the evening crowds. Stores are often less crowded at this time of the day, making it easier for seniors to navigate. With fewer customers, clerks can help you and your senior find items, reach high shelves, and lift heavy objects. Shopping during daylight hours will also reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

5. Find a good spot for parking

If you are traveling by car, it is better that you park as close as possible to the shop you are visiting. This tip may require a little research and planning. Choosing parking lots closer to the shopping malls with natural light visibility will keep you safe from falling or tripping. Also, follow designated sidewalks when going to stores and malls. If you must shop at night, park as close to the door as possible and always in well-lit areas. Light often helps avoid danger.

6. Shop when it’s quiet


Shopping during peak hours can be very stressful for seniors. Additionally, driving in a crowded retail shop increases the risk of accidents. For this reason, deciding when to shop with seniors is very important. 

Avoid big sale events like Black Friday and the holiday season. For example, supermarkets tend to be crowded on Wednesdays and weekends. Further, shops are always full during the last few days before the holidays. Shoppers become less cautious and irritable, which can cause problems for older people. Evaluate local malls and businesses in advance and choose a relatively quiet time.

7. Always bring your phone

Anything can happen when you’re shopping in a busy mall. As such, everyone involved should carry a fully charged phone. Try to program your phone number into the senior’s device. For faster use, set up a quick dial number and teach your elderly how to use them. Remind your sweet companion to check the phone if you both get separated. Another useful tip is to remind your senior buddy to ask for assistance from the store staff if you are away to help.

9. Decide on a meeting spot

Shopping in busy stores and malls can distract you from the group. And when this happens to older people, the experience can be overwhelming and potentially dangerous. It’s always best to plan for the worst-case scenario. What are your plans if you and the senior you are accompanying lose each other? Decide a meeting point before departure. When separated, each knows where to look for the other.

10. Never rush

Shopping with the elderly can lead to the undesirable event, so don’t panic. Older people with balance and mobility problems tire quickly, and fatigue greatly increases the risk of falls. Take your time. Shopping together may be a good chance to talk and catch up on how things are doing. Talk more and make the oldie interested in learning more from their experiences.


Shopping can often be overwhelming for all of us, including seniors. Older people are at greater risk because they are less mobile and usually move more slowly than others in a busy store.

Grocery stores can be very crowded and chaotic, especially during the holiday season, making navigating difficult and potentially dangerous for seniors. For older people, this errand can be physically demanding work that requires assistance. But if you plan your trip well and take the necessary precautions, there’s no reason why shopping with seniors can’t be fun and productive.