From Click to Cart: Online Grocery Shopping for Seniors
Grocery shopping can be stressful and inconvenient for anyone these days, especially for older adults or those with a disability. Mobility challenges, fixed incomes, and a lack of transportation can turn something that was once simple into a burden or even a fall hazard. And the rising cost of living and skyrocketing food prices aren’t helping matters.
Online grocery shopping can help with all those challenges. It does come with its own cons, however. Here are some factors you should consider.
The Pros of Online Grocery Shopping for Seniors
Online grocery shopping has become increasingly popular over the past few years. It helps streamline and simplify shopping. Here are some of the benefits.
- Convenience. One of the primary benefits of online grocery shopping for people of all ages is convenience. A senior can order groceries from the comfort of their home, or family members can help by placing an online order and having the items delivered to their aging loved one. When the shopping is done, many stores offer free or inexpensive delivery services or curbside pickup. It eliminates the need for customers to travel to the store or carry heavy bags.
- Selection. Online shopping makes it easy to browse a wide range of fresh produce, meat, and household items. Many sites show you close-up views of products so you can read labels, including ingredient and nutritional information, and compare brands. Many also show you reviews from others who have purchased a product. This is all done without feeling the pressure of others around you wanting to view the same items.
- Avoiding crowds. Grocery stores are crowded, busy, and possibly affected by staffing shortages. Older people with mobility limitations may need help navigating busy stores, standing in long lines, and processing orders at self-checkouts. Shopping online means seniors can avoid crowds, traffic, and the stress of driving and parking.
- Safety. Shopping in grocery stores puts seniors at risk for injuries from falls, theft, and car accidents. And for those with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses, in-person grocery shopping puts them at risk for exposure to germs and viruses. Shopping from home can help keep seniors healthy and safe.
- Independence. With online shopping, older adults are in control of their purchases, their spending, and their calendar. Not having to rely on friends and family to shop for groceries can help older adults feel self-sufficient and more in control of their lives.
- Potential cost savings. Rising fuel and food costs are eating into everyone’s budget, especially seniors on fixed incomes. Online shopping lets you quickly compare different brands’ prices, including cost per unit, sort the cost of items from low to high, and track how much you’re spending. It also helps reduce impulse buying.
The Cons of Online Grocery Shopping for Seniors
Here are some disadvantages you want to be aware of:
- Less control over item selection. Many shoppers want to inspect products for freshness, quality, and expiration dates. With online shopping, you rely on employees to choose products for you. Or, if an item is sold out, the employee may choose a substitution in its place. That said, most grocery stores that offer online shopping are committed to selecting high-quality products for online orders. If an issue does occur, getting a refund or a different item is usually straightforward. And many online grocery retailers allow you to indicate your backup preference if an item is no longer available.
- Delivery delays. Delivery or time delays are among the most frustrating aspects of online grocery shopping. You may be expecting a delivery but get a message from your grocery retailer that your order is delayed.
- Less human interaction. Grocery shopping is part of an independent lifestyle, and many seniors want to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Socializing, seeing neighbors, and getting assistance from store employees can be enjoyable for isolated and lonely seniors. Online grocery shopping eliminates those opportunities.
- Fees. Most online retailers charge membership or delivery fees, and depending on the setup, there may be the need to tip the delivery person. In addition, some retailers charge higher prices online compared to in-store shopping to help offset their costs.
How Right at Home Can Help
Whether it’s online shopping or an in-person visit to the grocery store, Right at Home’s trained caregivers are happy to help. Caregivers can provide assistance when the senior is shopping online, put groceries away once delivered, or drive the senior to the store and help them as they shop. Either way, the senior benefits from the support and companionship. Contact your local Right at Home office for more information.