Thanksgiving is the holiday where many like to gather around a table to enjoy food, company, count blessings, and give thanks.  After enjoying company and giving said thanks with loved ones, many folks like to go to stores to buy more gadgets and toys.  This phenomenon is what most people know as Black Friday, which takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, or sometimes the day of Thanksgiving too.  This is a good time for one to find discounts on many items, especially big-ticket items such as TVs.  For the normal, able-bodied person on a regular income, the prospect of shopping for Black Friday – either online or in-store – is relatively straightforward and easy.  However, the phenomenon brings a unique set of challenges for the elderly.  Here are some best tactics and advice for the elderly to navigate Black Friday safely.

Exercise Opportunities

A hidden advantage of going to a store or a shopping center can be the distance walked.  Around a normal store, one lap can be around 1/10th of a mile.  A lap around a shopping mall can be the better part of one mile!  For the senior that does not get to walk around as much, walking around a shopping mall can be a fun alternative that also provides an opportunity for people-watching.  There can be people walking at multiple paces around a mall, from the slow shopper to the shopper in a rush, so navigating through the mall may not be too difficult.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a great guide on mall walking

!  Be selective in where to go, as some stores can be very chaotic or crowded during Black Friday. 

Safety Benefits

The original context of a shopping a mall was to provide a safe, indoor area for people to browse stores.  This provides many advantages for all sorts of walkers.  The indoor temperatures should be suitable for those with respiratory issues against cold or humidity.  Pathways for mall walkers almost always pass by water fountains and restrooms.  When one may be feeling tired, there will likely be a bench nearby to sit on, if not a  sweet leather dollar-operated massage chair.  A few dollars spent on one of those chairs will bring much-needed relief to one’s back and body.  Being a private indoor facility, special attention will be paid to factors such as fall hazards, making malls an overall safer place to walk.  Food options can be plentiful if one gets hungry, which could occur quickly as one walks by the food court and passes by the aromas of Chinese food restaurants and cinnamon sugar pretzel stands.  Medically, the mall security should be able to assist with help, and there are multiple Automated External Defibrillators in the building. 

Stretching the Wallet

For the retired senior, money can be a difficult issue when living on a limited, fixed income.  Prices for most things have been rising over the years.  Furthermore, there are more people to buy gifts for, such as grandchildren.  This means that seniors need to buy the best deals to stretch the budget.  Despite being a good day for deals, not everything is at a good price on Black Friday.  Often times, the big-ticket items may be well-discounted, such as expensive electronics (televisions, gaming systems, smartphones, tablets, appliances, travel deals, and more).  But general toys may not be well-discounted, as such discounts actually occur closer to Christmas time!  Other deals like Christmas decorations are available closer to or after Christmas. 

Try Shopping Online

For years, the best option to obtain great deals on Black Friday was to wake up very early on Friday and stand in line for a store to open.  However, this option could be inconvenient and unsafe for some seniors, especially as some stores get crowded and rowdy with shoppers who would literally fight for some deals.  Luckily, within the past 10+ years, online shopping for Black Friday (and the Monday after, known as Cyber Monday) has increased in popularity, and it is now easier for seniors to obtain those good deals, and there are minimal sacrifices.  For example, Amazon has their frequent “Lightning Deals” where certain product deals are announced a few hours in advance, and once the item goes on sale, the shopper has to purchase the items before the allotted quantity is complete.  This has the similar idea of a doorbuster rush for Black Friday without the crowds and other hazards.  A great bonus of online Black Friday shopping is the ability to view publicly found research.  The website “Deals of America” has a lot of public information on the deals offered by many online retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s, JcPenney, Amazon, Target, Costco, Dell, Best Buy, and more.  Make sure to be aware of cybersecurity best practices.  Only shop on legitimate, verified websites.  If possible, have a family member guide through the websites.

Visit At Home

Black Friday can be an interesting day full of good deals, and with a smart strategy, one can shop smart and have fun on Black Friday!  If you or a loved one is in need of a caregiver, visit our website at www.athomeseniorservices.com to learn more!