Protecting yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 has turned normal daily tasks into unique challenges. Grocery shopping for seniors is one of those essential errands that’s become strangely different. Despite limiting the number of shoppers at a time and other safety measures stores put in place, it can be hard to practice social distancing while in grocery stores, to say nothing of the fact that high-touch surfaces are almost everywhere. To help keep yourself and others healthy, consider using these safe grocery shopping tips.
1. Plan Ahead.
This is not the time to leisurely browse up and down grocery store aisles. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in the store to lower your risk of exposure. Plan your meals so you’re able to get the items you need and get out in a timely fashion. And while stocking up on essential foods can reduce your trips to the grocery store, try to also reduce wastefulness by not overbuying perishables like veggies and fruits. Also take advantage of your local grocery store’s senior hours, typically early morning hours when stores open only for older adults and customers with health conditions.
2. Take the Proper Precautions.
Grocery stores rank as a moderate-low risk environment for contracting COVID-19, but every possible safety measure should still be taken when shopping. As always, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others. Wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including a face mask, is essential anytime you’re in an enclosed area. While not strictly PPE, you should also consider carrying some kind of disinfectant wipes with you to clean the cart or basket you’re using. Most grocery stores provide cleaning wipes, and many are sanitizing carts between each use. Look for stores that are making the extra effort to keep customers safe and well.
Until you can wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and certainly apply hand sanitizer any time you feel like you’ve made contact with a high-touch surface such as door handles, shopping carts, counters and especially paper money. For that matter, try to use touchless forms of payments like an app on your phone, which are considered secure and effective at reducing fraud.
3. Use Grocery Delivery Services.
As you can imagine, the most effective safe grocery shopping advice is to avoid going to the grocery store altogether. Order groceries online or use a meal delivery service to eliminate your risk of exposure. Luckily, senior grocery delivery service has become extremely popular. Big-box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco already have grocery shopping assistance for seniors in place. And now, cities across the country are seeing a rise in third-party services such as Instacart, Shipt, and Amazon Fresh that will safely deliver groceries right to your door.
4. Disinfect Items.
According to the FDA, “There is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.” While that’s reassuring, many health professionals still recommend thoroughly wiping down items purchased in a grocery store when you get home and allowing them to air dry before putting away. Furthermore, anytime you leave the house and return, it’s important to rigorously wash your hands with warm water and soap. The FDA also recommends an easy DIY sanitizing solution for disinfecting packaged goods — not produce — when you bring them home. Just mix 5 tablespoons of unscented chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water for an effective disinfectant. Be careful that you don’t ingest this solution, get it in your eyes or mouth, or wash produce with it.
5. Lean on Others for Support.
As difficult as it may be for some independent-minded seniors, this is the optimal time to ask for help. While safe grocery shopping can certainly be done, if you or a loved one has underlying health conditions, you should try to avoid stores of any kind. Instead, ask a friend or family member to shop for you, or take advantage of a senior grocery delivery service. If you or your loved one lives in a senior living community, ask about grocery shopping assistance for seniors.
Staying Safe at The Stayton
Grocery shopping for seniors is the last thing you or your loved one should have to worry about right now. Here at The Stayton, our culinary team takes care of that for you, providing three delicious chef-prepared meals each day. And many of our team members are happy to provide grocery shopping assistance for seniors in our community. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re keeping our residents healthy and well, or if we can do anything to support your needs during this time, don’t hesitate to contact us through our website or call us at 817.349.7140.