Grocery Shopping in the U.S. and Its Impact on Older People

Woman with elderly couple buying foodIn 2015, the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture released a compelling report on grocery shopping in the United States. Here are the key findings:

Mode of Transport

Most US households are more likely to drive their vehicles to buy groceries. But those who belong in the low-income group has a higher chance of commuting. These include walking, biking, and taking public transit.

Average Distance

When it comes to groceries, American consumers don’t mind driving a little farther. Most of the participants lived less than two miles from a supercenter or supermarket. But they drove almost four miles to get their supplies. Food-insecure households also had the same behavior, although they traveled shorter distances. They covered nearly three miles. It could be because they were likely commuting with their bikes or walking.


Americans can also be selective when it comes to their primary shopping store. Two of their favorite destinations were the supermarkets and supercenters at 45% and 44% respectively. Only 5% considered other retailers. These included farmers’ markets and convenience stores.

What Does this Mean for the Seniors?

The survey didn’t highlight the ages of the participants, but other types of research highlight how grocery shopping can have a significant impact on seniors. For one, they may need senior home health care services in Fairfield.

Many older people may no longer be capable of driving, let alone walk, take a bus, or ride a bike. They may already be taking medications with side effects that can impair their vision. They may also have degenerative conditions such as arthritis.

A 2017 research published in Population Health Management also revealed that at least one out of four seniors now live in rural areas. In these places, commuting time can be longer due to the lack of food stores.

Old age doesn’t diminish the need to eat, thus the dependency on food stores. While they can now buy food online, many are apprehensive in using technology. Therefore, the next best option is to cope with the distance or get some help.