Helping the Elderly Who Can’t Order Online

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Paloma Helps Elderly People Who Cannot Access eCommerce. A real-life example
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E-commerce is one of the markets that keeps growing during the current global crisis. People need to stay inside and are limited in their contacts with others, and start ordering online. Supermarkets are a main point of contact and to avoid these as well, people start ordering online. But, what happens with the elderly people who cannot order online and tend to be the most vulnerable to this crisis?

I live for two years now in Amsterdam and there is an initiative, as in many other cities and countries, to do groceries for those who need it the most. I decided to sign up for this community to help the elderly. Within a couple of days (slow!), I received a call that there was someone who needs help. After reading all instructions and policies provided by the company in my neighborhood, I put on my gloves to visit the 95 years old man that I am going to help. Facing him is a bit scary regarding communication, giving my limited Dutch, but luckily it turned out well. When arriving at his house, he already has his grocery list. It is mostly in Dutch, but he has some words in English that he thinks I would not understand. So sweet!

I do the groceries, with my gloves and his bags. The supermarket sends the man an invoice, so I don’t have to pay. After returning to his place, we check his shopping list together, and put everything in his cupboards. When I am ready to leave, he asks me if I am busy. Confused I look around and ask if he needs something else, I can help him with. He smiles and says: “I would just like to invite you for a cup of tea”.
“Well, I can’t say no to that.”


We sit down in his living room and got into the most wonderful conversation in Dutch-English I ever had. He talks about his travels around Spain, Indonesia, the South Pole, and about the bombing of Rotterdam during WWII that he survived. Wow! He asks me to come over every week to do groceries again, and also to practice my Dutch with him, which definitely needs some work indeed.

So, we can make the best or the worst out of this crisis and I have decided to go for the first option. I started off helping the elderly who can’t order online, and instead I am helped to learn Dutch. It is in our hands to help more people than we can think of. And believe me, you will receive way more in return than what you give.


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