Sunday, 20 October 2013

Some useful tips for shopping for food with a chronic illness

As you can tell by the new look I have been doing work on the site. I have now added a page too for all my useful tips. In doing so however I discovered that one of my posts about shopping for food along with some useful tips seems to have vanished into cyber space. Or I accidentley deleted it, which is probably quite likely. Luckily I had written most of the post in my notebook so I can bring it to you now, again.

Food shopping is an activity that requires a lot of effort and is an area where many sufferers of a chronic illness, dissabilty, the elderly, people with an injury and sometimes pregnancy require help. Especially if they live alone. Again this is where I am lucky to live with my parents. Food shopping when you break it down into elements is actually a convoluted process that requires mental, physical and sometimes emotional (oh no they've ran out of my favourite biscuits) effort. In other terms it requires a lot of spoons. Think about it. Firstly you need to get there. When you do you could possibly take ages looking for a parking space, that could leave a longer walk to the supermarket. Once inside you push a stubborn trolley around whilst negotiating old age pensioners, errant small children, staff packing shelves and us annoying folks in wheelchairs (sorry). Then there is the physicality of bending, stretching, reaching, lifting and twisting to put items into your trolley or basket. As you progress through the supermarket your trolley or basket becomes heavier making it more difficult to push or carry. Then when you get to the checkout you have to take all your items out, then put them into bags, then back in the trolley if you are using one. Walk back to your car. Remembering where you parked and lifting everything once more into your boot. Going home. Getting the shopping out of the car. Unpacking the items and putting them away. It makes me tires just writing that (twice now!) and thinking about it. It is a task that requires a lot of effort and one that can tire out the healthy amongst us.

So for anyone with a chronic illness it's certainly like climbing Mount Everest ten consecutive times. Therefore it is definitely an area where sufferers require help if needed or wanted. Your GP should be able to advise you on any services that are available in your area to help people that have difficulty in accessing food, as well as your local council. The most common service being meals on wheels. Below I have quoted some information about the Royal Voluntary Services meals on wheels scheme. Their website can be found here.

   'The Royal Voluntary Service is the original meals on wheels provider. We deliver two million meals a year to people who have difficulty with shopping, carrying food home or cooking for themselves.'

   'Today the service could be more accurately described as 'meals with care.' Our drivers are instructed to ensure that the older person is safe, well and secure.'

   'Our home delivered meals service provides friendly social contact for those who may be confined to the house.'

   'In some cases, once the driver has delivered a frozen meal one of our volunteers will come over and heat the meal up for the older person and stay to keep them company.'

Other useful websites for frozen meal delivery services are:

Below I have made a list of tips to help sufferers of a chronic illness, their carers or anyone that had difficulties shopping for food.

* Is there someone that could go shopping for you? A neighbour, relative or friend

* Can someone take you to the shops? Or could you get a taxi?

* Internet shopping- If possible time the delivery so that someone can be there to help you to unpack and put away the items.

* Find out what assistance the supermarket has? Mobility scooters, wheelchairs, trolleys for wheelchairs, disabled parking bays, toilets

* If you use a mobility scooter or a wheelchair is there someone that can help you get things off high or low shelves or from freezers for you?

* Speaking of freezers, make sure you wear layers whilst shopping so that you don't become to cold and burn more energy as your body tries to keep warm.

* Always go to the same shop, where you know the layout and the staff, that way you know where everything is and you won't waste energy by searching for the things that you need.

* Always write a shopping list beforehand so that you remember what you need to get. This will save energy if brain fog hits and you are wandering aimlessly trying to remember what you needed to get and may save you another visit.

* Does the supermarket have a cafe? You may wish to do your shopping in stages rather than one big push. A rest and a drink or healthy snack may help you.

* Weigh up whether you are best doing a big shop less frequently or smaller shops more often? Which suits your energy and stamina levels best.

* Trolleys tend to be better than baskets because they distribute the weight better, even if only have a few items.  Using a higher trolley will also prevent you from needing to bend as far.

I hope you have found these tips useful, If anyone has anymore then please comment below. I will add these tips along with the ones on cooking and preparing food on a page so that they are easy to find for future reference.

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