While many challenges arise with caregiving, we can all give thanks for one amazing invention: internet delivery. Not only is online ordering easy, convenient and in some cases cheaper than your in-store alternative—it is also discreet. As a teenager, I was often embarrassed to buy incontinence products at the local CVS for my mother. What if someone from school saw me? What if I knew the cashier? Worse yet, what if one of my mother’s friends saw? The last thing I wanted to do was bring shame upon my mother when she was already struggling through so much. The store run became a covert operation, always looking over my shoulder, strategically arranging the items in my cart to maximize privacy.
Enter the twenty-first century, in which we needn’t worry about this anymore! Inventory all of the supplies your loved one requires on a weekly basis, and schedule a calendar reminder so that you know when to order next and don’t run out. Monthly probably works best for most supplies. You may also choose to schedule recurring purchases through Amazon, CVS, Target (see below) and other outlets.
Start with a Ready-Made Caregiver Essentials List
Note sure where to start? Target has a phenomenal “Caregiver Essentials” website that covers everything you can possibly think of, from personal care to nutrition and weight management to pain relief and beauty products.
Home health care
Smart Home equipment (check out our blog on Tech for more detail)
Security cameras, alarms & detectors, doorbells & locks, trackers and more
Brands include Alexa, Apple Home Kit, Nest, Wink and more
Walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, canes and bathroom / home safety equipment
Target offers order pickup (including drive-up) and same-day delivery for some locations. Check out your eligibility options here.
Check items eligible for coverage under an HSA or FSA
If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer’s benefits package, you may be eligible to purchase thousands of over-the-counter items with this pre-tax money.
Eligible items may include:
Medicines and treatments
Home health care
And much, much more
Find out more here.
Buy in Bulk
Where possible, combine your own weekly care purchases with that of your loved one’s. If you normally use different brands of toothpaste, pick one and see what kind of deal you can get. For example, Crest often has two-for-one packaged deals at Target, CVS and other stores. The same may apply to vitamins, pain reliever medication, skin care, soaps, and more. If you have a membership to a wholesaler such as Costco or Sam’s Club you can buy an incredible number of items in bulk at great discounts.
Keep it Organized
The name of the game is organization. The better your lists and documentation, the easier it will be to order, reorder, shop and budget. The last thing you have time for is recreating the same list over and over, or a last minute store run to account for a toilet paper emergency. And in the event another family member, helper or even a friend takes over the ordering and shopping you will have a handy list ready for immediate transfer. So get writing, my friend, and consider one more thing done off your to-do-list.