Shopping: how to help with an essential task
Shopping is not only the way we keep our kitchen and closet stocked, it is also an important social activity and one of the ways we connect with the world. For people with dementia, however, shopping may become difficult.
Why is this happening?
Memory problems, decision-making impairments and communications issues can affect the ability to shop. Problems may arise involving things as basic as creating a shopping list, reading and understanding product labels, and navigating the process of checking out at the store’s cashier.
Shopping environments can also be confusing, especially in larger stores. And we’ve all occasionally gotten lost in the parking lot or a multistory garage. For those with dementia, these places become even harder to navigate.
How should you respond?
Asked to help with the person’s shopping list and make sure it’s easy to follow. If needed, provide transportation and accompany the person if you feel they need help in the store. A shopping trip can become an opportunity for togetherness and enjoyment.
When you need a break as a caregiver, friends and neighbors may also be willing to fill in as a shopping companion for the person. The more people who remain in the person’s social circle, the more they will feel valued and appreciated.