Grocery shopping: A frustrating task for some elderly




According to Janet Belsky, author of “The Psychology of Aging,” basic to living is our ability to receive information about the environment around us. Just as crucial is our capacity to respond to that information. Our five senses help us make “sense” of the world. Limitations in sensory-motor functioning may make the elderly feel less sure of themselves, less independent, and more vulnerable to their surroundings.

The grocery store is an environment familiar to all of us. Belsky explains that shopping is an instrumental activity of daily living. We need to shop in order to buy food, and we need to buy food in order to nourish our bodies. However important grocery shopping is to our survival, it is still a chore, a chore some of us may take for granted. Grocery shopping can be physically challenging and mentally exhausting for senior citizens.

Some seniors may suffer from any combination of physical impairments or conditions that are common later in life. Age-related vision and hearing loss can greatly affect our seniors at the grocery store. Not being able to recognize a product’s label or hear a sales clerk can be frustrating. Seniors who suffer from arthritis may find it difficult to move quickly, bend over to reach their favorite product, or maneuver their carts or motorized scooters around stacks of boxes waiting to be stocked.

In addition to physical hindrances, there are also psychological and social issues. When seniors shop, they may be reminded they are alone; spouses have died, kids have grown up and moved away, and friends are no longer around. The grocery store can be a depressing place for some. For others, a trip to the grocery store may be their one “social outing” of the week. They may not be in a hurry because they enjoy being around other people.


In this article they explain how with older age comes more troubles, especially at the grocery store. I believe this connects to my focus because it explains how the loss of certain senses and motor functions can cause issues at grocery stores. It also makes me wonder about all the different ways we can help our elderly community when it comes to shopping for their groceries.


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