Tips for Seniors to Tackle Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping

By Ruby Cemental

Thanksgiving is an exciting and busy time of the year. Families and friends meet together to enjoy a bountiful meal, which requires a lot of time and preparation. The perfect Thanksgiving feast starts with the right ingredients. But the run to the grocery store for Thanksgiving goods is one of the most time-consuming grocery shopping trips of the year. For many seniors, it can be stressful or even seem impossible. It requires you to be on your feet longer, push a heavier shopping cart, manage more grocery bags than usual, and maneuver carts through aisles with lots of foot traffic. And the Thanksgiving turkey isn’t light, either! Thankfully, there are several tips older adults can utilize to make this grocery trip easier and less stressful.

Place an Order Online

Many grocery stores now allow you to place an order on their website. Then, store employees do the grocery shopping for you. If any ingredients are missing off the shelves, they can make substitutions for you, too. Some stores offer home delivery, while others offer curbside pickup. This option might cost a few more dollars on your bill, but it can make the trip much easier on seniors who have a hard time grocery shopping on normal weekdays.

If your grocery store doesn’t offer online orders, then you can look into different grocery delivery apps, like Instacart or Shipt. In some areas, Amazon also provides grocery delivery. Or, you can hire a trusted caregiver to do the grocery shopping on behalf of your loved one.  


Make shopping a family affair by involving different family members in grocery shopping. If your loved one prefers a hands-on approach to shopping, have someone go with them to offer a helping hand. They can push the cart, pick up heavy items, reach for items on tall shelves, and help navigate the busy store.

You may even decide that it’s best for your elderly loved one to stay home this year. You can also delegate different dishes to various family members and ask them to get the ingredients for their dish instead of leaving it all on your senior’s shoulders. This can help make the grocery run easier for the whole family. 

Go to the Store in the Morning 

Grocery stores are often less crowded in the morning, so plan your trip accordingly. Seniors will be able to get in and out faster since they won’t have to navigate through as many people. Plus, workers won’t be as busy, so they will be more available to help with tasks like bagging groceries, taking them out of the cart for checkout, and loading them into the car.  

Make a List 

Making a list is a great way to ensure that you have everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal. While there might still be a few items that you forget, the list can help you stay on track. It can also help you know which aisles you can avoid and which ones you need to go down. If you know your grocery store layout well, you can organize your list by areas of the store. Staying organized with your list will help seniors shop more efficiently.  

Order from a Restaurant 

Seniors don’t have to do all the cooking themselves. It’s okay to order items from your favorite restaurants if they have Thanksgiving dishes available. Instead of making a homemade pie, for example, try picking one up. This can help cut down on the chaos in the kitchen and on the time you spend at the grocery store. Some families take it a step further and eat out on Thanksgiving to avoid the hassle altogether.  

Go to a Larger Store 

If you live in an area that has multiple locations of your favorite grocery store, consider going to one that has a more spacious layout. Larger stores typically have wider aisles that can be easier to navigate during busy times of the year. However, this could also be challenging for seniors who are already familiar with the layout of their grocery store. So let your loved one take the lead on choosing the grocery store.  

Clean Out the Car 

To get all of those groceries home, you need lots of space in your vehicle. Check the car for space before going to the grocery store to ensure that you don’t have to spend time making room for your groceries in the parking lot. We recommend clearing out the trunk because it’s easier to access than the side doors, which can swing open and hit cars nearby. But you might need additional room — especially if you drive a compact sedan — so clear out the back seat too.  

Encourage Your Loved One to Accept Help 

There are also companies and services will also assist with the shopping process. For example, you may want to hire a transportation company. You can even ask to see if the driver will help carry in bags when your loved one gets home. Or you can hire a caregiver who can do shopping with your loved one, help with meal preparation, and provide the ride.  


Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to gather together as family and celebrate all the things that you have to be thankful for this year. That doesn't mean that it has to be stressful for your elderly loved one. For more tips on keeping the Thanksgiving season easier to manage for everyone, find the Caring location near you and reach out today! 

Tags: Holidays