I have concerns about Coles and Woolworth’s claims in the media and on their website of assisting disabled/elderly/vulnerable people facing difficulty shopping during COVID-19. Browsing through some of the comments in this community group I found similar concerns have been raised:
Examples of my own experience having two elderly, immunocompromised, disabled family members is as follows:
*Woolworths announced partnering with Meals on wheels to provide toilet paper https://hellocaremail.com.au/woolworths-partners-meals-wheels-bring-free-toilet-paper-seniors/
They received the first toilet paper roll through Meals on wheels last week, just after the local supermarkets were beginning to have toilet paper and tissue boxes on the shelves.
*Coles online shopping that is now only available to seniors etc sells limited varieties of products. For example the only low fat “Natural” Yogurt is the coles brand low fat Greek style yoghurt which contains thickeners etc. On the other hand the local Coles store in the same area stocks all the usual varieties of yoghurts including Jalna and Chobani brands.
*The 7am-8am time slots for Seniors are not an appropriate time for those who are diabetic etc and have to make sure they have had their meals/insulin etc and also need help with personal care routine in the morning after waking up. It also exposed them to crowds of people in the line, making them vulnerable to not just COVID-19 but other infections. Interestingly enough Coles and Woolworths took almost all credit for this initiative when in fact this concept was introduced by a store manager in IGA in Altona https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/we-need-to-stick-together-the-supermarket-owner-behind-the-elderly-shopping-hour-20200316-p54am0.html
Apart from private corporations such as Coles and Woolworths, state and federal government have provided limited direction or tangible solutions to protect the most vulnerable in matters such as this. The local government has shown even less signs of action on this matter.
I do hope organisations such as Choice and Disability/Aged Care advocates will urgently step in to address this. The very nature of Covid-19 (ie this demographic is the most vulnerable to the virus itself) makes it imperative.