While it’s important for everyone to follow the CDC’s recommendations in order to stay healthy and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, it’s even more important for seniors. The CDC’s research has shown that older adults are at a higher risk of severe illness caused by COVID-19.
For this reason, many seniors have found that life looks very different now than it did last year. Previously, you may have been able to go visit family members, attend large gatherings and celebrations, and go to the grocery store with ease—but now every outing seems to pose an unnecessary risk. You may not want to go shopping if you can avoid it, but you still need to get groceries and other necessities. How can you get the things you need without having to go shopping in person?
How to Avoid Stores
Luckily, we live in a time when people are more connected than ever before. Through the internet, it’s possible to order your groceries and have them delivered to you without ever having to come in contact with another person. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, there are things you can do to avoid having to venture into your local grocery store. Try some of these options to help you stay home, stay safe, and keep food in your fridge.
Solutions for Tech-Savvy Seniors
With all the intuitive devices and apps available, many seniors love using technology to make their lives easier (despite stereotypes that say otherwise!). There are countless online shopping websites and apps that will allow you to order your necessities from home and have them delivered right to your door. Even better: most of these companies have policies in place to reduce COVID risk. This may include requiring their workers to wear masks when making deliveries and offering contactless delivery, in which the worker will leave the delivery outside your door, ensuring you never have to come face-to-face with a stranger.
Common websites for grocery delivery include:
- Instacart. With grocery partnerships from stores like BJ’s, Big Y, Market 32, Aldi, and more, Instacart makes it easy to shop from home. Whether you use the Instacart website or app, you can easily create an order and someone will go straight to the store to shop for you. The app will even connect you directly to your shopper, so they can communicate with you if the store isn’t carrying an item you requested. Within a few hours, your delivery will be at your door.
- Peapod. Similar to Instacart, Peapod is a grocery delivery service that partners with Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant-Landover, and more. Simply select your items, and choose a time for delivery—then sit back and relax while someone else does the shopping for you.
- Amazon. Known for selling just about everything, Amazon now has its own same-day grocery delivery service. When you order certain products from Amazon’s Whole Foods Market, they’ll have one of their shoppers grab the products and bring them right to your door. The added benefit of shopping from Amazon is that you can buy much more than food (although you may have to wait a few days longer for non-perishable items!).
Remember: online shopping doesn’t begin and end with groceries. No matter what you’re looking to purchase, chances are you can find it online. So before you get ready to go out, spend some time searching online. Research your favorite stores to see whether you can have their items delivered—they might surprise you!
No Internet? No Problem!
While these technologies can make a big difference for seniors looking to stay inside, they might not be an option for everyone. If you don’t have stable internet access to allow for online shopping, there are still options available to you.
- Phone a friend. Chances are, you know someone who is more comfortable with going to stores to shop: your children, family friends, or neighbors. Reach out to them and ask for a little help. Next time they go out, ask them to pick up a few necessities and drop them off.
- Find out what services are available to you. Every senior’s living situation is different: if you live in a retirement community or assisted living facility, they may have procedures in place to deal with shopping during COVID. Reach out to see whether your facility offers grocery shopping services. And for those who live at home? Consider whether you can hire a CNA or other helper to assist with daily activities such as shopping.
- Make connections. If you’re still not sure who can help you with shopping during this difficult time, reach out to your community and make connections. Are you part of a church or other organization? They may be able to connect you with someone looking to help out.
What if There’s No Other Option?
There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you don’t have to make unnecessary visits to the grocery store, but sometimes there just isn’t another choice. How can you make sure that any trip to the store is a safe one?
Protect Yourself (And Others)
If you must go into a store, make sure to follow all recommended guidelines. That means washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer) and wearing a mask to protect yourself and those around you. It also helps to create a solid shopping list before you leave the house. Know what you’re looking for so that you can make the shopping experience as quick as possible.
Know Your Store
Before you head out, make sure you know everything there is to know about the store you’re heading to. What precautions are they taking to keep you safe?
- Are they requiring masks? Luckily, Massachusetts currently has a mask mandate in place, which means that patrons should be wearing masks in every store.
- Do they have special senior shopping hours? During the COVID crisis, more and more stores have enacted special senior shopping hours. During these times, only older people and those at higher risk for contracting the virus are allowed in the store.
- Do they offer curbside pickup? At some stores, you never have to leave your car. Simply order your groceries ahead of time and pull into the parking lot to have someone place your order in your car.
Not sure whether your store has implemented any of these policies? It doesn’t hurt to call ahead: that way you know exactly what to expect.
Keeping Yourself Safe
We’ve all faced a difficult adjustment over the past several months. This “new normal” isn’t always easy, but there are ways to reduce your risk of exposure and keep yourself safe.
At Briarwood, safety is our number one priority. We strive to keep all of our residents happy and healthy, and we have done our best to ensure everyone stays safe during this difficult time. Are you looking to make the move to a safe, healthy senior living environment? We’d love to speak with you! Book a tour: we’ll show you the campus and answer any safety questions you may have. Reach out today!