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Helping Parents with Shopping and Finances


Are your parents able to live on their own but still need help with finances or shopping? You may be overwhelmed by the additional work. And it isn’t just the tasks that take time and energy. If your parent has dementia, you may spend hours looking for misplaced bills or a lost checkbook. Or you may need to make an extra trip to their house before grocery shopping to see what they need.

These tips may make it easier for caregivers to help:


  • If your parents have accounts with several banks, consolidate them.
  • Hold joint accounts or have signing privileges on your parents’ accounts. As their health declines, have statements and account information sent to you.
  • Request third-party notification for all of your parents’ bills.
  • If your parents own their home, make a note of when taxes and insurance premiums are due.
  • Convert passbook accounts to statement savings so you can transfer funds easily.
  • Consider giving your parent a “dummy” passbook or checkbook and keep the real ones at your home.


  • Look into grocery delivery services like Peapod or Fresh Direct. Or order online from a local supermarket for in-store pickup or delivery.
  • If your parents have in-home care, ask the aide to keep track of supplies. Otherwise, make a habit to check when you visit (don’t forget cleaning supplies, toothpaste, batteries, and light bulbs).
  • Download an app like Out of Milk and create a list for your parents. Or bypass the list entirely: Peapod’s app includes a scanner. Simply scan an item’s bar code and the app will add it to your online shopping cart.
  • Consider buying nonperishables in bulk (or online) once a month. Buy fresh produce, dairy, and meat each week.
  • If you choose to do one large shopping trip for your family and for your parents, here are ways to keep their items separate from yours:
    1. Have your spouse or an older child use a second cart to collect your parents’ items.
    2. Pack them in easily identifiable bags, and load bags in a separate spot in your car.

If necessary, your helper can keep your parent occupied while you put grocery items away.