Safe Holiday Shopping Tips for Seniors

November 24th, 2020 | Senior Health

Have you made your holiday shopping list and checked it twice? Now that it is time to go shopping for the special people on your list, it is also the ideal time to brush up on your shopping safety habits. Unfortunately, senior adults can be more vulnerable to crime including theft or financial scams. Here is what you need to know to stay safe as you shop this season.


Staying Safe While Shopping In Person

For most seniors, the preferred method for purchasing gifts is to go shopping in person at brick and mortar establishments. If you are heading out to give business to your favorite local stores, keep these safety considerations in mind:

  • Avoid driving when the weather conditions are poor
  • Park as close to the entrance of the business as possible
  • Before leaving your vehicle, double check that you have your wallet, list, and keys
  • If you take public transportation or a senior services bus to your destination, make sure you know the schedule and where to catch your ride home
  • Never pull out a large amount of cash while paying for your purchases; instead, keep your envelope or wallet of cash in your purse and pull out bills individually
  • If you are alone, ask a security guard or staff member to walk you out to your car if you feel unsafe, if it is dark, or if you cannot safely carry all of your purchases
  • Check in with family members via phone call or text throughout your time shopping
  • Have a designated family member to call in case of emergency
  • If you have a fall detection device, such as a neck pendant or watch, ensure it is charged and you are wearing it correctly
  • Pack any medications you might need to take during your time out
  • Stop often to drink water or rest as needed
  • Trust your instincts; if you feel unsafe at all, find an employee and ask for help


The coronavirus pandemic has added extra stress or worry over going to stores for holiday shopping. You can keep yourself as safe and healthy as possible by following these best practices:

  • Wear your mask when shopping
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content before and after entering different stores
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet between other customers while shopping
  • Take advantage of any special early hours designated for older adults


Staying Safe While Shopping Online

Thanks to technology and the internet, shopping online is a viable option for people of all ages. Seniors, no matter if they are beginners or experts when it comes to the online marketplace, can benefit from refreshing their safety practices. Here are a few to consider before clicking the “buy now” button:

  • Only use strong and unique passwords when setting up accounts at different online sites
  • Avoid clicking on links that come from unreliable emails or social media accounts
  • Visit store sites directly when possible, and not through a third party link or website
  • Never keep your credit card information out in the open
  • Secure websites begin with “https:” and not “http:”; try to only ever pay on sites that have that “s” in the address
  • Before ordering, double check the site’s return policy; having a difficult return process is an indicator that you should find the gift elsewhere
  • Look to support online businesses that ship as locally as possible; waiting for a product that is shipping from overseas is frustrating, especially during the busy holiday season
  • No vendor should ever ask for personal identifying information such as your social security number or Medicare number
  • Avoid online giving unless you can verify the site supports the organization you want to donate to
  • Never give out your ATM pin number or account information
  • Invite a family member to help you with your online shopping; you can feel more confident if someone more experienced is nearby


The team at Legend Senior Living wishes you a successful and safe holiday shopping season!