Shopping Safety for Seniors

Most seniors who are mobile enjoy taking time to shop. Especially during retirement years, these outings can be both fun and entertaining. But going shopping always presents certain security risks. Here are some tips to help seniors stay safe and enjoy their golden years.

Shop During Daylight Hours
First, seniors should go to the store during daylight hours when other people are around. Late night and early morning visits can be dangerous. Seniors no longer see as well in the dark which means driving, finding the car and simply moving about in a parking lot become more of a challenge. With fewer crowds, better visibility, less disorientation and better driving conditions, daylight hours are the ideal time for seniors to get those errands done.

Take a Buddy
Whenever possible, seniors should plan to go shopping with a friend, family member or a companion. That way, someone else is aware of your situation, where you are and what you are doing and is there to help.

Make the Car Stand Out
The last thing an older person needs to do it wander around in the parking lot looking for his or her car, or worse yet, get into a stranger’s car by mistake. The easy thing to do is attach some type of identifiable ornamentation to the car, inside or out, that will help ensure he or she is headed to the correct vehicle.

Carry a Disposable Camera
Carry a disposable camera in your car to take photos of any accidents in the parking lot or along the way to the store.

Bring a Cell Phone
Seniors should always carry cell phones in case of emergencies — health problems, vehicle breakdown, personal danger — with a cell phone you are only a few rings away from help.

Bring a Cooler
Especially during the summer months, seniors should bring a cooler to refrigerate perishable items on the way home. Many stores in the Phoenix area offer free ice.

Don’t Use Cloth Bags
While cloth bags are considered “green” and “eco-friendly,” research has discovered that these types of bags can catch and carry all kinds of bacteria from the food packages. The bacteria can then be easily transmitted to both the food stored within and to the person carrying the bag. As people age, their immune system can become compromised, so the bugs in these bags can be dangerous.

Watch Your Valuables
When shopping, keep your purse, wallet and valuables close by. Cross-body purses are safest for women, while men should keep their wallets in the jacket pocket, rather than pants pocket. Don’t walk away from your cart of leave them unattended. You don’t want a stranger to make off with your cash, credit cards, checks or important documents.

Keep it Impersonal
Don’t have your address, phone number or social security number on your checks (use a post office box number). That way, someone standing in line behind you can’t lift your personal information.