Shopping on behalf of residents
After I moved to a nursing home, I went through an unexpected adjustment. I no longer had a caregiver to take me shopping. Occasionally, a vendor would come to a former facility and peddle snacks and a few clothing items. Aside from that, I was dependent on the nursing home activities staff or others to shop for me.
It is difficult for have someone else shop for you, especially us residents who do not get out very often. We may not be aware of new items or if they still carry items we used to buy. Also, items are frequently moved in the store and if we do go shopping, we have a scavenger hunt to locate them.
At this facility, activities shops for residents every two weeks. But, as you can probably imagine, some residents want things more often than that. Some ask for things when the mood strikes them. A few residents do not plan well and ask for things from the store and do not know whether or not they have any money left. If a resident is out of money, they usually have to wait until the next month. If someone wants instant gratification by purchasing something, they have to wait until activities shops for them.
Making a list for someone else to do my shopping is difficult. I have to remember to list substitutes in case the store is out of what I want. Over time, the activity aides, will learn acceptable substitutes. If I do not list an alternative, and what I want is not there, they come back with nothing. Then, I can find myself without my favorite hair product or crunchy snack.
I do order some things online. But, ordering from an online big-box store does not work for everything. Many items come in too large a quantity for me. So, I need to have activities pick up the small, individual items.
Whenever I give activities my shopping list, I remember when I shopped for my paternal grandmother when she lived nearby for a year. Arthritis made it difficult for grandmother to shop, other family and me did it for her. I remember going to the drugstore for her insulin and to the grocery for other items.
At times, she would ask me to run to the small store a block away to pick up something special for lunch. One time she asked for souse, a kind of lunch meat. I bought for her back in the 1960s. When she opened it, that stuff looked disgusting. But, when she made her sandwich and bit into it, she winked with delight at me. I never forgot that.
Assisting grandmother with her shopping made me realize each of us has particular tastes no one else should really question. Each of us wants to buy a few things that give us particular joy.
I am grateful to have someone shop for me. It just can be challenging at times.
Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She is an incomplete quadriplegic and uses a power wheelchair to get around. Her computer is her “window on the world.” This blog shares her thoughts and view of life as a nursing home resident as well as ideas of how it might be improved in the future.