Do you ever feel embarrassed about buying personal hygiene products, like bladder control, sexual health or even denture products?

Has pride stopped you from adhering to day-to-day tasks of taking care of yourself or enjoying your sex life? Have you considered using online shopping to avoid uncomfortable glances?

Motivated by More Than Money

While speaking with a group of seniors who have yet to embrace online shopping, I noticed money wasn’t the only motivator for some of them to start browsing online.

 
 

While saving cash is a huge perk, and the convenience of buying from your own home is ideal, some seniors may benefit from the anonymity of the Internet.

This includes everyday products that some people may be embarrassed or less likely to buy in front of strangers, or when out shopping with friends or family.

Bodily Functions

It’s not a secret that some bodily functions come with a certain level of shyness, and using the toilet is a discrete act. Unfortunately, as we age, incontinence, constipation, even intestinal gas and other ailments become more and more common.

Moreover, some necessary medications cause unfortunate side effects, increasing the stigmatized problem.

Purchasing products to treat these conditions is often the best way to approach these natural but unfortunate realities. Yet some individuals would rather not have anyone else be aware of their ailments.

Sexuality

Local pharmacies provide condoms, personal lubricants and other sexual health products sold over the counter and through prescriptions. Yet some people, including the over-60 crowd are reluctant to buy these products out in the open.

Seniors, among all age groups, may also experience shyness walking into a sex shop for adult toys. Despite shops offering discretion with purchases, some shy shoppers are likely spending less (or no) time browsing the aisles.

Anonymity and Convenience

While there is nothing to be embarrassed about, pride can be a strong emotion, and no one should feel ashamed. A huge benefit to online shopping is doing so from your own home. It’s private.

A lot of seniors depend on family members to help them with shopping and errands. Would you want to buy condoms when out with adult kids? Or read the side of a bottle of personal lubricant when your do-good nephew is waiting for you to choose?

Shy shoppers can research products, price-compare and buy everything online – from bladder protection, assisted living products and sexual enhancers – have them delivered home and avoid any eye contact with people aware of their product choices.

Benefits and Quality of Life

With product availability and the elimination of personal barriers, some seniors are more likely to take better care of themselves. Through use of proper hygiene products that can be potentially embarrassing, common problems are less likely to snowball into larger medical problems.

Even something as common as dentures can create a shy reluctance. I had a grandparent who hid the fact that she wore them from me. She would rather go without the proper products than ask me to pick up something from the store for her, and we all know that avoiding oral hygiene wreaks havoc.

The Bigger Issue

The true stigma surrounding seniors and their needs related to bodily functions, sexuality and independent living likely won’t be eliminated by avoiding the mainstream acceptance.

However, shopping online allows seniors to address their needs in such a way that is easy for them. It’s up to society, in general, to reduce the negativity and ignorance to such matters.

There are too many ageist stereotypes about seniors and sex, basic daily requirements and quality of life, and these need to be wiped out by all of us, not just the seniors they impact.

Do you shop online for personal hygiene products? Have you considered using online shopping to avoid making embarrassing purchases? Please share your experiences and thoughts.

Jennifer SternJennifer Stern is a self-described “writer in geek’s clothing.” Drawing upon years of communications experience in the tech industry, she started a personal blog to address common concerns about technology and the internet, specifically for Canadian seniors. She believes seniors can benefit from embracing technology and the convenience it offers. Read her blog at www.digitalseniors.ca

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