Senior Shopping Hours during Coronavirus
More and more stores, shops and essential establishments around the world are offering special senior shopping hours during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To help spread the word and this wonderful initiative, we’ve done four things.
The first is this blog post with ideas on easy ways to make shopping senior-friendly.
The second is that we added a category in our Sensory Friendly Finder just for these special shopping hours during Covid-19. We wanted to make this important information available in one place for people to find.
The third is that we have a short (~11 minutes) FREE presentation on how to adopt special senior shopping hours during Coronavirus.
The fourth is that we also made our presentation downloadable in a PDF.
Quick and easy things to consider:
- Offer special shopping hours for seniors.
- Consider both morning times and times later in the day.
- Include people with disabilities, a mobility disability or a hidden disability too. They are also vulnerable.
- Limit the number of people in the store.
- Have wheelchairs and electric shopping carts. Clean them after each use. And do so for shopping carts too.
- Color code shopping carts with a washable tag that you can give out at the entrance with a greeter.
- Green: I want assistance.
- Red: I do not want assistance.
- Have staff offer extra assistance to those who want it.
- Adjust lighting; ensure good lighting but no moving, shining, shimmering lights.
- Turn noise down or off; no background music. Older adults are more likely to have hearing loss. Even when people wear hearing aids, they do not solve the problem. Reduce the overall noise level. Turn off unnecessary, noisy, equipment.
- Reduce the clutter in the aisles; remove extra, unnecessary displays.
- Help with social distancing, mark spots on the floor in waiting areas to provide a visual cue for people to stand apart
- Offer sturdy chairs, both with and without arms. Chose open spaces so they are not a hazard to navigate around. For example, a spot for seniors to sit and wait for a spouse or caregiver accompanying them who is going to get the car. A spot to rest if they are tired, especially if your store is large.
- Remember to keep pathways clear and free throughout the store.
- Install cane holders at cash registers.
- Offer help to load purchases into the car.
- Avoid collecting all the carts during this time (its noisy), but keep the area safe.
- Clean and sanitize!
- List yourselves in the free, global Sensory Friendly Finder so that everyone, everywhere can find what you offer.
- Tell people what changes you have made and what to expect in your listing. Knowledge is key!
In the future, make special shopping hours a part of your regular service.
When we recover from the Coronavirus, please keep up this initiative. Add sensory-friendly shopping hours to appeal to seniors and people with a hidden disability. Make inclusion across the lifespan part of daily life in your community. Did you know that up to a third of the population looks for sensory-friendly experiences in every day living?
Do you have an idea to add to our list? Maybe something that you are already offering at your store? Please reach out and let us know, we will keep updating our list of ways to help.
We applaud you for offering special senior shopping hours! Thank you for leading your community at this challenging time.
Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.