How Can Seniors Stay Protected From Foodborne Illness?

Elderly woman eating a meal in Edmonton, AB

A Growing Problem

In this day and age, even with all the regulations, the risk of food poisoning is still present. Every now and then we can hear that someone has been hospitalized after eating contaminated food in a restaurant. Most often people get food poisoning through fish, dairy or chicken. While eating food that has been contaminated with bacteria or parasites is concerning at any age, seniors are more prone to contracting a foodborne illness and cannot easily recover from it. Some older adults even end up in a hospital, and in certain cases, food poisoning even leads to death.

Why Seniors Are More Vulnerable

Due to their age, seniors have a weakened immune system and their body is no longer capable of fighting illness as efficiently as before. Liver and kidneys also do not function as well as they used to and they cannot easily cleanse the body of harmful toxins. In addition, some medications can cause a problem. Drugs that are prescribed for heart disease or diabetes have side effects that can weaken the immune system so recovering after food poisoning becomes increasingly difficult.

Tips for Protecting Against Foodborne Illness

There are some simple ways seniors can protect themselves from food poisoning.

At the Grocery Store

If a can is dented or a jar has cracks, it should not be bought. Also, seniors should avoid any produce that looks bruised. When packing groceries, raw meat should be packed in a separate bag so it doesn’t drip on other food. Older adults should pay close attention to the expiration date of the product.

Food Handling and Preparation

Hands should be thoroughly washed with warm water and soap prior to meal preparation, and kitchen counters should be sanitized. Any produce should be rinsed with tap water, while raw meat and other foods should be prepared on separate cutting boards. Seniors should also use a food thermometer to make sure that their food is cooked safely, instead of just relying on the color. Any perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking.

When Eating Out

When dining out, older adults should stick to meals that do not contain any uncooked ingredients. In case the food doesn’t look properly cooked, it should be sent back.

Comfort Keepers Can Help

At Comfort Keepers, your loved one’s health and well-being is our main priority. Our caregivers can, among other things, help your parents with meal preparation and make sure their food is as safe to eat as possible. Contact our office in Edmonton, AB today and learn about other home care services we provide in this area.

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