Must Have Items for Seniors For Sheltering-In

With the current stay-at-home order in place, seniors are a particularly vulnerable population. For most people, this means staying home and only going out for food, medicine, or exercise while distancing. Since senior citizens are at a higher risk of developing complications, they should especially be careful to stay at home.

Staying at home requires being well-supplied on essential items though. Seniors may have specific needs so these must have items for seniors to need to shelter-in should give an idea of what to have on hand.

Sanitary Supplies

It may be challenging to stock up on some of these items. However ,make sure to have the following supplies stored in a cool, dry place. Have at least two weeks supply of each item although more may be needed. Use this checklist for preparing for any supplies.

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Disinfectants- general cleaners. Choose a preferred brand or choose a general multi-purpose cleaner
  • Chlorine bleach- can be diluted with water and used to sanitize surfaces
  • Plastic bags- trash bag sized

These non-perishable items make it safe to stay at home while also staying clean. This is also a good idea to have at the house at seniors can use these materials to regularly disinfect surfaces around their homes. Use these on a daily basis, especially if anyone is coming into the home.

Medications and Medical Supplies

When it comes to going outside of the house, you may find that you have to leave in order to get medical supplies or medications. For any prescription medications, there are a few options available. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you can get a three month supply at one time. This will allow you to avoid going out. If this isn’t possible, you can often have your prescriptions delivered. This is a great service that many people use.

However, in addition to prescription medications, other supplies can be used for general health and wellness. You don’t want to find yourself going out to the store just for an aspirin. Make up a medical kit in order to prepare for minor medical concerns. These are the items that it should contain at the bare minimum:

  • Bandages- purchase them in assorted sizes
  • Latex gloves
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Antiseptic solution and antibiotic ointment
  • Non-prescription drugs- aspirin, pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medications, antacids
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Thermometers
  • First-aid handbook- this is a good idea for any basic questions that you may have about health and medicine

While you can’t prepare for every medical emergency, having basic medical supplies will keep you away from stores to a greater extent. If you have any other medical needs, come up with a list of what supplies that you use on a regular basis and add them to this list.

Emergency Equipment

It seems unlikely that people are going to lose power or water during this time but you may want to take some extra precautions. You can prepare for any severe problems by having a few extra supplies on hand. Consider purchasing or making sure that you have these items available.

  • Battery powered lanterns/flashlights and batteries- make sure that you have enough on hand for a few weeks use at least
  • Bottled water- plan about a gallon per person per day. This can be used for drinking or washing
  • Back-up cell phone- you may also want to turn this on occasionally and make sure that it works
  • List of contacts- local emergency numbers, family, friends, etc to contact in an emergency
  • Emergency radio- if you run out of power, you may want an emergency radio that can be used to hear news.

The goal of these supplies is to allow you to handle any more severe problems. While people are not currently experiencing a loss of power or water, this is a possibility, especially in more remote areas of the country. It may be helpful to keep these supplies in general. If they’re not currently needed, they may still be needed in the future.


When it comes to food, this is probably the most important item to keep in store. Depending on your dietary limits, it may be challenging to keep the foods that you enjoy on hand. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables are mostly perishable and often need heat or other preparation methods in order to eat. The goal of having a food supply on hand is to purchase foods that are non-perishable for the most part.

You can consider having two types of food on hand. If you have freezer space and working electricity, you should keep a moderate supply of these foods:

  • Frozen fruits/vegetables
  • Frozen meals

If you happen to lose electricity, then you’re going to have to turn to foods that require minimal if any preparation. These foods include the following:

  • Canned fruits/vegetables
  • Shelf-stable foods- peanut butter
  • Canned meats- tuna, chicken, etc.
  • Crackers
  • Applesauce
  • Canned soups
  • Granola/protein bars
  • Dried fruits
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Precooked entrees- usually available in a pouch

Additional Considerations

In addition to having food supplies on hand, then you should also consider grocery delivery services. Many major grocery stores also offer delivery services for a low or sometimes no delivery fee. Keep in mind that these services are limited by what the stores have to offer. You can use these services to supply some fresh foods but shortages are already present. You’ll still want to have foods at home in case you can’t use these services or they don’t have the foods that you want.

Being Prepared

While there are speculations on how long seniors and others will need to shelter-in-place, this is somewhat a speculation. It’s a good idea to plan for a least a month of being at home. Seniors have special considerations when it comes to sheltering-in-place. From medications to other essential supplies, these are the must-have items to purchase or have at home. This list can be used by seniors or family members to purchase any additional supplies. You’ll be surprised at how important it is for seniors to be prepared.

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