8 Shopping Tips for Wheelchair Users

Shopping at grocery stores can be very tricky. Often times, navigating around shopping carts, harried parents with crying children, and oddly placed produce displays can take the joy out of collecting food to cook for the next couple days. Add a wheelchair to the chaos, and grocery shopping only gets trickier.

Here are eight tips that can make shopping easier for people who use wheelchairs:

An example shopping list on a legal notepad
Stick to your list | Photo by Elizabeth Layman
  1. Make a shopping list: Keep a whiteboard or notepad in your house to keep track of what you need. Use this to make your shopping list. Group things like different vegetables or different types meat together on your list. This will help you to make sure you pick up the things you need from one section of the store before you move on to the next section.
  2. Find an accessible store: Find a wheelchair accessible store close to you. The store should have a ramp or a wheelchair accessible entrance and adequate space between aisles. Also, make sure the store has enough space for you to turn your wheelchair.
  3. Settle on a specific shopping time: Choose a time to shop when the store is almost empty, such as the morning. This will make it easier for you to maneuver your wheelchair, as well as to get assistance from the staff there. If you visit a store regularly and build a rapport with the staff, shopping will be easier for you.
  4. Use reachers: Carry your own reacher when you go shopping. It can help you retrieve a number of lightweight packages from the higher shelves.
  5. Use a hand-held mirror: A mirror will help you when products are kept in large bins that make it difficult for you to look inside.
  6. Check out the carts: Some stores have special wheelchair carts that can be attached to a wheelchair. Others have wheelchair carts that you can use inside the store. Ask the store manager if they have any available. If not, you can also use a regular cart. Push the cart to the end of an aisle and then wheel back and forth from the shelves to the cart and put things in it.
  7. Use home delivery services: Many grocery stores offer an option of home deliveries. You can either choose what you want from the store and have it delivered, or you can call the store to have it delivered. If you don’t feel up to cooking even with the grocery delivery option, there are apps like Seamless that deliver fresh meals to your doorstep.
  8. Don’t forget about online shopping: Online shopping can be a convenient way to shop if you are tired or don’t have time to go to the store. The San Francisco Bay Area particularly favors Instacart, AmazonFresh, and Google Shopping Express. Also, ePantry specializes in sustainable, affordable cleaning products and other household goods. Research options that deliver to your neighborhood.
The home page of Instacart, an online shopping site
Instacart is popular in the San Francisco Bay Area

3 thoughts on “8 Shopping Tips for Wheelchair Users

  1. I like your idea to choose a specific time to go shopping. I can understand how getting around in a very busy store would be difficult. My sister is in a wheelchair, so maybe I should show her this article to help make her shopping trips easier.


    • Hi, Melody! Thanks for the comment. We certainly encourage you to share the article with your sister (or anyone else who you think might find it useful). Also, feel free to let us know if she has any feedback! We’re always looking to improve and update our tips.


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