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Grocery Shopping with Grandpa

Grandpa shopper
 Grocery Shopping Helpers

Sometimes I get stuck doing the grocery shopping for the family. I don’t really enjoy it, but I think I have gotten pretty good at it.  I had lots of practice grocery shopping when my family members and I were caregivers for elderly parents.  I was often sent to the grocery store on my way home from work.

The other day, I was at the grocery store again when I noticed a couple who were visiting the same I aisles as I was. They were pushing the basket in the opposite direction of mine, and we would find ourselves on the same aisle frequently.

As we crossed paths, I eavesdropped a little on their conversations, and found that they were most likely granddaughter and grandfather.  The older white-haired gentleman was pushing the basket and pointing out products on the shelves. He leaned forward on the basket and named what he was looking for, while the young lady searched up and down the shelves. The young woman, who was probably 16 to 20 years old, was picking up what he pointed to, reading labels to him, and discussing the products with him.   Grandpa would then decide what went in the basket and what went back on the shelf.

I was impressed with the demeanor and patience of the young lady. Grandpa was full of complaints about the prices, the sizes of the cans, their location on the shelves, just about anything about shopping and the store.  I noticed several cans of sardines in his basket, so either he or his cat really liked sardines.  He was getting what he wanted to get.  He was being listened to as well.  Granddaughter was poised, kind and gentle with her replies.  She let him take his time, making it down the aisle slowly and making decisions. She described the products, read the prices, and suggested options to him. She was totally focused on him, graciously acknowledging his opinions and choices, while providing answers and getting the job done.  She was a great caregiver, especially considering her age.

Do you have a child, teen or young adult in your family who can be helpful to an elderly family member?   If you are a caregiving family, then look for some ways to involve your kids or grandkids in the tasks that need to be done. It has been my experience that when the need matches well with the young person’s abilities, that a youngster can accomplish the task.  It can be a pleasant experience and a memory-making moment for everyone involved.

I know that sometimes we want to shield our children from unpleasantness in life, from hardships, pain and suffering. I know that each situation is different, and each person has limits of tolerance and understanding.  However, it is surprising to find that all of us can be” stretched” a little, can learn a little more, and can find new strengths when we just give it a try.

Grocery shopping may just be one of those tasks when a “Kid-Caregiver” can be very helpful.  Give that youngster some coaching before the shopping trip. Let the kid do all that he can while you supervise the interaction.

Here are a few suggestions about grocery shopping for a “Kid- Caregiver” to follow when shopping with a senior.

  • Keep the pace of the senior. Don’t rush; slow and steady will get the job done.
  • If the senior is on a budget, watch the prices. Help him keep a running total. Maybe you can use the calculator on your cell phone for this.
  • Be the hands and feet to reach the products, carry the heavy items and guide the shopping basket, if needed. Be the sharp eyes needed to find the item on the aisle, and walk to retrieve it.
  • Know if the senior has special dietary restrictions due to medical conditions. These might mean limiting salt, fat or sugar in the ingredients of the products.
  • Keep in mind the limitations of the senior in opening cans, lifting large bottles, or handling heavy bags.  Buy foods that are packaged in a way that they are easy to open, and easy to handle and lift for the senior.
  • Help Grandma or Grandpa count the bills, or work the card reader to make the purchase, if needed.
  • Carry the groceries in from the car, and help put them away.

Give the kid a big hug when the job is done!

Know a kid caregiver? We would love to here about them!

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