Health Eating for Seniors | September 15, 2021
Foodborne Illnesses | Even with increased safety measures and imposed regulations nowadays, the threat of foodborne illness remains fairly present in our communities. But not all age groups are affected by food poisoning the same way, and for some, the risk is much higher than for others. Aging adults are at a greater risk of contracting most foodborne illnesses and usually take much longer to recover from the incident.
As Statistics Canada estimates, one in every eight of our fellow seniors gets affected by a foodborne illness at least once a year. So, let us see why the effects of foodborne illnesses can be much more dramatic for the elderly.
Of all the changes that occur in the body as we age, the weakening of the immune system is one of the most significant. This means that the body’s natural defense system which protects us from germs, viruses, and bacteria is no longer able to fight illnesses as efficiently as before. Simultaneously, the liver and kidneys slow down their functions and need more time to get rid of toxins.
To make matters worse, prescription medication is also a catalyst. Most medications used to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease cause side effects that can further weaken the immune system. With all these factors combined, recovering from any type of food-related illness is usually much more complicated for most older adults.
Keeping seniors informed is one of the best ways to prevent foodborne illnesses. For this reason, older adults should consider the following tips so that they do not jeopardize their health and well-being:
At the grocery store – Avoid buying dented or damaged packages and always make sure to check the expiration date for perishable goods. Bag raw meat, seafood, or poultry separately from other produce.
Food handling and preparation – Always wash hands with soap and warm water before handling any food. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before peeling or dicing. To avoid cross-contamination, meat should be separated from other foods when being prepared for the same meal. It may be best to use separate cutting boards for this. Seniors can also use a food thermometer to avoid serving undercooked food. Last but not least, make sure to refrigerate all perishable foods no less than two hours after cooking.
When eating out – Whenever possible, seniors should refrain from ordering any foods that may have any uncooked ingredients. These are usually marked on the menu, but you can always ask the waiter or waitress to confirm just in case. Just like with any home-cooked meals, refrigerate any leftovers brought from the restaurant or takeaway within two hours after getting back home.
If you are concerned about the health and well-being of your aging loved ones we can help with 24-hour care, post-surgery care, senior living transition services, and much more!
Comfort Keepers®’s trained caregivers help provide senior clients with the highest quality of life possible to keep them happy and healthy at home. Our Interactive Caregiving™ provides a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs).
Our philosophy is to elevate the human spirit and our caregivers will be there every step of the way to ensure your loved one has a better quality of life. Empathetic care is care that starts in the heart, and it allows us to meet our client’s exact needs. Learn more about our unique service which offers personal care, companionship care, palliative care, and end-of-life care by contacting the Comfort Keepers Victoria office.