Shopping for groceries can be a minefield for people with arthritis. Breakable jars of food. Unwieldy jugs of detergent. Paper bags of flour with all the stability of a bomb. The key to success: Approach the task as a logistical puzzle and employ the right combination of tools, tactics and staff assistance. Here’s how:
Plan it out. Shop when you’re most energetic – even if that means taking two short trips weekly instead of one long, exhausting trip. Respect your pain and your stamina.
Shop smaller stores. They require less walking and schlepping than big-box stores.
Lift with large muscles and joints. The easiest and safest way to handle heavy items is to scoop them into the crook of your elbows and hold them close to your body.
Consider gloves. Thin leather or gardening gloves provide extra grip and keep hands warm in freezer sections.
If you need help, ask for it. Staff would rather give you a hand with awkward or heavy packages than clean up a spill. Ask store staff to crack the seal on hard-to-open jars and retighten them loosely. Then you can transport them without spills by placing them in a trunk organizer.
Make paying easier. Add masking tape to debit or credit cards to build up the side opposite the magnetic strip or chip to make it easier to grip. Or pay with a smartphone app, such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
BYOBag. Sturdy canvas totes and insulated bags for frozen food are friendly not only to the environment but also to joints; they’re easier than plastic bags to grip and carry. Ask the bagger to limit the number of items in each bag to keep them light, and get help toting them to your car.
Wheel it home. Keep a wheeled cart in your car to transport items from your car to your house.
Shop online. If it’s too much to go to a store, order online through a grocery delivery service such as Instacart or Shipt, or for curb-side pick-up, which some stores now offer.
For tips for shopping for arthritis-friendly food, click here.
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