Do you suffer from arthritis or other chronic joint pain?  If so, just functioning day-to-day may seem difficult.  Walking to your car, let alone climbing inside and actually driving, may seem out of the question.  Not only is it too hard, but it may also be very painful.  You may think shopping with arthritis is out of the question.  So, what should you do?  While it may be easier to sit on the couch at home and shop online, don’t let your joint pain control you or your life!  We all need to shop, especially for groceries, and some of that human interaction we get at the store will do wonders for your mental state, too.

Tips for Making Shopping With Arthritis a Breeze

  • Create a grocery list by aisle:
    • Those with arthritis of the toes, knees, and hips, find it difficult and painful to walk.  To prevent wasted steps, create a grocery list based on aisles.  This prevents you from retracing your steps and walking more.  Some grocery stores have guides available for shoppers.  Or, the next time you are there, record the aisle numbers and sample of items in the aisle.  Use this as your guide for next time.
shopping lists can make shopping with arthritis a less enduring task

Shopping lists help to reduce time spent wandering around tiring yourself out.

  • Always use a shopping cart:
    • Regardless of which joints are affected by your arthritis, opt for a shopping cart.  Baskets are convenient for when you only need to buy a few items, but they can be difficult and painful to grip and carry, especially id you suffer pains in your hands and fingers.  If you suffer from arthritis of the toes, knees, and hips, a shopping cart also provides you with walking support.  Also, don’t be afraid to use the motorized shopping carts and many stores have them available free of charge.

Always use a shopping cart – it’s good to lean on for support now and then.

  • Use a reacher or ask for help:
    • Your fear of shopping is almost always due to this – items are scattered on shelves both high and low.  If you find it difficult to bend or reach, ask for help or purchase an extended reacher.  They are available for sale at most drug stores and medical stores.  These reachers can also help those with difficulty gripping items.  If you need help, ask a store assistant or a passerby, people are more willing to help than you may think.
  •  Take a break when you need to:
    • It’s no secret that both grocery stores and supermarkets are large.  Walking from the car to the store may seem like a long journey but just wait into you get inside.  It is not a race to finish quickly, take a break whenever you start to experience pain or difficulty moving.  In the grocery store, move your cart to the side of an aisle and lean on it for support.  Shopping malls have benches scattered throughout, take a seat and rest, or visit one of the cafes.

Shopping malls are huge! Take your time to get around, break often, there will be a cafe somewhere convenient.

  • Opt for paper or reusable bags at the grocery store:
    • Those suffering from arthritis of the fingers, experience pain when gripping and carrying plastic shopping bags.  Many dread trips to the grocery store because of this. Instead, opt for paper or reusable bags.  Most reusable bags have longer carry-handles – you can sling them over your shoulder.  To carry paper bags, use both arms, not just your fingers and hands.  Also, do not be afraid to ask a store assistant to load your bags into the car or ask a neighbor for help.
  • Give online shopping a go:
    • Many stores now enable you to shop right from your home.  With these stores, you browse or search through their product list, add items to your virtual shopping cart, make payment, and wait.  A store employee will then deliver your goods to your home!  You may be charged a small delivery fee, but it may be well worth the added cost.
online shopping is better than shopping with arthritis

Online shopping eliminates the need to get out there and do it yourself.

  • As a last resort, ask someone to shop for you (online shopping is not for everyone):
    • See if a close friend or family member will pickup a few items for you at the grocery store.  

Although it may be easier to use a grocery store delivery service or have someone else stop for you, try getting out there yourself, even with some help (the exercise will also do you well).  Giving a few of these tips a go could mean that shopping for gifts, groceries, and clothes does not have to be difficult.  Just remember to take it slow, rely on available tools, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Do you have any tips for our readers out there?  What are some of your winning receipes for getting out and about at the local mall?  Drop us a line in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.