Using a Grocery Delivery Service: Easier eldercare. Smoother child care. Convenience for the medically compromised. >> Read REVIEW >>

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Using a food delivery service can make caring for seniors, kids, and the health challenged a whole lot easier.

As someone who helps care for friends and family, I have utilized Instacart on many occasions to ensure essential supplies and needed groceries are delivered to those who I know cannot easily get out to shop for themselves.

Instacart is an American company that provides grocery delivery and pick-up service in the United States and Canada. Customers submit grocery orders using a mobile app or the Instacart website. A personal shopper selects and delivers the items requested to the address entered in by the customer.

When I am caring for a housebound or wheel-bound relative, for example, it feels safer and is more convenient for me to have groceries and supplies delivered to the residence than to take the wheelchair and relative with me to the store to shop in person. Leaving the medically compromised family member at home alone or alone in the vehicle while I shop isn’t feasible either, especially in extreme hot or cold weather.

If I am not at the same location as the person I am helping care for, I use Instacart to order food and necessities for vulnerable and elderly relatives when they need things right away. I could go shopping myself and then drive the long distance to drop off supplies, but placing orders from stores near their homes has saved me time and gas money.

There are times when the weather is bad or someone is sick and can't leave the house. Ordering through Instacart provides me peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about dangerous driving conditions or long-distance night driving. The variety of stores that I can order from through this service is wonderful too. The loved ones I care for live in a large metropolitan area. When I open my Instacart app, I enter the recipient’s address. The selection of stores near their residence that appear includes local grocery stores, large supermarket chains, brand-named pharmacies, and big box stores such as Target, Best Buy and Staples. Through the Instacart app or Instacart online, I can also shop at Sam’s Club and Costco, even if I am not a member of these stores. That’s another plus.


Typically, the Instacart personal shopper will hand the groceries to the recipient at the door. I can also check the box, “Leave at my door if I am not around,” for contactless delivery. Any additional delivery instructions can be added in the field provided at check out. If I ask the shopper to please bring groceries inside and leave them on the floor near the front door or on an inside bench – like a case of water, for example – I will put that in the delivery instructions. I can also chat directly with the personal shopper to discuss items being shopped for or to confirm delivery instructions. Of course, I make sure to tip a little extra for providing that added service. When it’s cold and slippery outside, that extra step -- dropping off heavy groceries inside -- makes a big difference in terms of ease and safety for an elderly or medically challenged loved one.



I know it’s not easy raising kids, even for stay-at-home moms. Whether it’s friends or family, there are a lot of children in my life and I love helping to take care of them. But imagine taking two active little ones to the grocery store where they want to touch and grab everything. It can be quite the ordeal just to get the kids ready and into the car. If you live in a high rise or walk up, going back and forth to the garage and up and down elevators with kids and strollers to bring in bags of groceries can be exasperating. Throw in some traffic, bad weather, and a crying and screaming child that wants out of his car seat and it’s just -- a lot.

Why not eliminate that whole scenario? Simplify processes. De-stress your life. A service like Instacart means groceries and retail supplies will be shopped for, packed, and brought to your home. Let someone else do that work for you. The kids can continue playing uninterrupted. The baby can sleep and you can rest too … or get other things done.  



My groceries almost always get delivered within two hours. Depending on the store I choose and how many items I order, some deliveries have come under 30 minutes.

Depending on your location, service options that are commonly available are:  Immediate, Scheduled, Standard, Priority, and Delivery Now. Immediate is typically delivery within 2 hours. Scheduled is when you select from a list of 2-hour windows.  Standard is stated as two to five hours from the time of order placed. The Priority option for $2 is always at least 30 minutes earlier than the standard ETA time slot.

Finally, using Delivery Now means purchases are delivered within 30 minutes. This feature is often used by customers who urgently need a few items, such as baby formula or diapers ASAP. Perhaps the guests are due to arrive soon and you forgot a few essentials, like candles for the cake or a key missing ingredient for a dish. There’s no time to run out to shop. Utilizing Delivery Now through Instacart is ideal for smaller orders when you need something in a pinch. Delivery is free on orders of $10 or more.


You don’t need a membership to use Instacart to shop. There are benefits to becoming an Instacart+ member, however. Benefits include reduced service fees and unlimited free delivery on orders over $35. The monthly fee for Instacart+ membership is $9.99. The annual plan is $99. At the time of the writing of this article, the annual plan is $79 (a discount of $20), if you enter your Costco membership number. Please check the Instacart website for details and updates or for other current discounts and promotions.

To keep expenses low, I shop at stores that are marked “In-store prices.” I also take advantage of any manufacturer coupons by clicking on the coupon box below an item. At checkout, if choose a 3-hour window, (instead of 2-hour), I get another $2 off. This information is as of August 2022. Check here for current rates.



If your senior loved one would like to sign up or place orders on their own but needs assistance, they can contact Instacart’s dedicated Senior Support Service. Here is the number to call:


Daily: 8am - 11pm ET