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Scott Duke Kominers

Free Food Delivery for the Elderly Would Be Smart

Techie millennials are the main users today, but winning over the elderly now is a good long-term strategy.

Now both need to wash their hands.

Now both need to wash their hands.

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

In the midst of our coronavirus-steeped moment, food-delivery services such as Instacart and DoorDash have been serving a vital role as more and more people hunker down at home and order groceries online. But these services can do even more: This is a prime opportunity for them to take on a social mission and build market share at the same time. And we should help them (and their delivery workers) do so.

The aging and elderly are some of the most vulnerable to the virus, which makes it especially important for them to avoid busy places — which unfortunately includes the grocery store. Delivery services are especially well-equipped to aid seniors, who even in normal times can find it taxing to lug groceries from the store back home. But these services’ current users are mainly tech proficient, financially well-off and young.