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Sep 10, 2019
In-Store Shopping a Struggle for 1 in 3 Caregivers
“Retailers Can Score Big” through Key Changes, Survey Reveals

WASHINGTON — In-store shopping is a struggle for nearly one-third (31%) of America’s 40 million unpaid family caregivers, according to a new survey from AARP. Caregivers say a lack of accommodations for their family members is a problem for shopping in-store. Many leave their loved ones at home or opt to shop online, despite strongly preferring the in-store experience.

More than 9 in 10 caregivers (93%) shop for the person they care for. Among these caregivers, most report shopping monthly for groceries (87%), household basics (65%), toiletries (61%), prescription drugs (58%) and other health products (52%) for their loved one.

“Americans who take care of loved ones are often strapped for time, and many face logistical challenges doing something as simple as going to the grocery store,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy & engagement officer. “Retailers can score big with caregivers if they make it easier for them to bring their loved ones along when they shop.” 

The survey reveals simple but important changes retailers should consider: dedicated parking spots for caregivers; ample, comfortable reserved seating for loved ones; and wider aisles that easily accommodate wheelchairs.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • More than 8 in 10 caregivers (82%) prefer to shop in-store. However, 84% shop online for ease and convenience, despite preferring an in-store experience.
  • More than half (56%) who purchase groceries on behalf of their loved ones spend at least $50 per month doing so.
  • More than 4 in 10 caregivers (43%) say a major reason they leave their loved one at home when shopping is because the store environment is too difficult for care recipients.

To read the full report, visit:

The survey and its findings will be presented at the AARP Executive Summit, The Price of Caring, on September 10 in Washington, D.C. The summit will highlight public- and private-sector solutions to support the growing number of working Americans who care for an older or ill loved one. Go here to watch the livestream or visit to view a recording after the summit after September 10, 2019.

Resources and information on family caregiving, including AARP’s Prepare to Care Guides, are available at

The survey was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago and is based on a nationally representative survey of Americans who provide unpaid care for an adult age 18 or older. The nationally representative survey of 1,127 unpaid caregivers was funded by AARP and used AmeriSpeak®, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Interviews were conducted between Aug. 1-19, 2019, online and using landlines and cell phones. The overall margin of sampling error is +/- 4.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, including the design effect. The margin of sampling error may be higher for subgroups.


About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.