Parkinson’s disease is expected to rise over the next several decades as more and more adults enter into their years of retirement. While there are many health complications that will affect the mobility of aging adults, Parkinson’s disease can be particular challenging as it impairs both mental function as well as physical movement. If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, it is important to consider these factors when grocery shopping so as to avoid injury and discomfort during the experience.
Grocery shopping is a daily activity event that most senior adults enjoy. As a way to get out of the house, shop for their own personal items, and greet local residents and other shoppers, many senior adults prefer grocery shopping over most other types of home away activities. If physically capable, Parkinson’s patient can enjoy the grocery shopping experience as well but often require assistance.
Grocery stores pose some degree of physical risk to an adult with Parkinson’s disease. Grocery shopping carts are a prime risk for falling or for hurting another individual. When shopping with a loved one that has Parkinson’s disease, ask that you be permitted to push the grocery store cart as this will alleviate potential health risks from the rolling movement that can result in a fall.
In addition to grocery store carts, always assist your loved one in picking items off of shelves and placing them into the cart. Parkinson’s disease rarely affects mental processing initially so allow your loved one to choose the items they would like to purchase. But, when selecting the item from the store shelf, always provide assistance as items can be easily dropped or damaged and not only will the product be damaged but the Parkinson’s patient may also experience injury.
Very rarely, but on occasion, there can be complications with mental processing in Parkinson’s patients. Typically, any cognitive processing that is impaired is the result of medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease. When grocery shopping, this cognitive impairment can complicate the check out process at the grocery store register and, for this reason, you may need to assist in calculating money, filling out a check, or even processing an order on a debit card machine. Be sure to always give the Parkinson’s patient some degree of responsibility but offer assistance to be sure the payment processing is done correctly and that they leave with the right amount of change. Following all of these tips, grocery store shopping can continue to be an activity of daily living that a Parkinson’s disease patient can enjoy for a long time to come.
Sources: Sociology of Aging, 2006: Vol. 35: 67-71.