The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has made shopping for essentials difficult for the immunocompromised. Senior citizens are one of the groups that are at greater risk of contracting the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults are at a greater risk of severe illnesses. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that could further compromise their health if the virus is contracted.
They also face a number of challenges that make this time extremely difficult for them when gathering groceries, medication and more while avoiding large crowds. It raises the question: How can seniors shop safely during this time? Here’s what you need to know.
Shop Senior Hours
Many superstores and grocery stores now have senior hours at least once a week and some even have designated hours daily. Senior hours are set aside for immunocompromised groups, including seniors, to shop as soon as the store opens. Senior hours give these groups a fully stocked store without the worry of large crowds later in the day. Some pharmacies also offer special hours as well.
Choose Delivery When You Can
Delivery is one of the best options to encourage social distancing and help reduce the risk of exposure to the virus in public. Try to have groceries, medicine and other essentials delivered to your home. It’s also best to opt for contact-free delivery. The deliverer will call or send you a message once your order has been delivered and they are back in their vehicles. You’ll then be able to get your delivery without any contact.
Another option aside from delivery is curbside pickup. Some stores and restaurants will bring goods out to your car and place them in your trunk for a contact-free pickup. This is also a great alternative for caretakers who are trying to limit their interactions.
AARP shared that after you bring in groceries, deliveries or other items you should wash your hands immediately before handling items or eating. The article also cautioned seniors to be careful using disinfectant wipes or other cleaners to clean your produce or other items as these can cause other health concerns when used on food.
Keep PPE & Sanitation Items Handy
If your loved one is going to be out and about, make sure they have a clean mask and hand sanitizer handy. Others also recommend easily disposable gloves or disinfectant wipes to handle carts, doors or other frequently touched items. While the CDC reports that the virus isn’t easily spread by surfaces, it’s OK to take extra precautions.
Senior citizens should also keep these disinfectants handy to kill everyday germs and any potential concerns of the virus. Most people are keeping Lysol, disinfectant wipes, and all-purpose cleaners to quickly touch commonly touched surfaces.
One of the most common ways COVID-19 can spread is touching an infected person or surface, then touching your face. While out and about, it’s important for seniors to avoid touching their mask, face, eyes or other areas. Wash your hands and keep hand sanitizer in your bag just in case to keep your hands clean.
A Note for Caretakers
Caring for a loved one during this time can be extremely difficult — especially for essential workers. Start with the tips we’ve outlined above including washing your hands, disinfecting surfaces and avoiding crowds. Here are a few extra reminders to help you during this time.
- Johns Hopkins experts listed the No. 1 priority as keeping yourself well. Keep a strong immune system and find hobbies to keep your mental health strong. Don’t forget to follow CDC’s recommendations.
- Help your loved one stay connected to the rest of the world. Sit with them on the porch and wave to the passing neighbors. FaceTime and video chats are also great ways to keep them connected to other friends and family.
- Avoid as many unnecessary trips as possible. This includes planned vacations, unnecessary appointments and gatherings. If you must make a trip or run errands remember to practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.
- Keep disinfectants, food and medication handy to reduce the number of errands and risk of exposure.