Food poisoning is a risk at any age, but it’s heightened in the elderly. Chronic conditions can impact how well the liver and kidneys do their job at filtering toxins and bacteria. Stomach acid production changes as you age and that slows digestion, which means unsafe foods are in the body for a longer period.
Your parents may not realize that some of the things they do increase the risk of food poisoning. In the summer, they may be taking bigger risks. These are common mistakes older adults make. Talk to your parents about the things they need to do to keep their food safe in the summer.
Keep Salads With Eggs and Cream in the Refrigerator
Pasta and potato salads that have ingredients like mayonnaise, sour cream, or egg-based dressings must be kept cold. Keep them in the refrigerator or a cooler that’s large enough for the bowl to sit in ice.
These salads cannot be left in the sun or on a counter overnight. That will encourage bacteria to grow. It’s okay to leave salads like a fruit salad out of refrigeration for a longer period of time as long as the dressing contains no dairy.
Most Sandwiches Have to be Kept Chilled
While peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are okay outside of a refrigerator, others must be kept chilled. Chicken or seafood salad, deli meats, cheese, and egg salad sandwiches have to be cold. Sandwiches with dairy or meat have to be kept cold. If they’re allowed to warm up, the risk of food poisoning increases.
Cook Meats Properly
If your parents are grilling, foods have to be grilled to the right temperature. Chicken needs to be cooked to 165 F. Pork has to be at least 145 F. Burgers need to be at least 155 F. Use a food thermometer to check that foods are cooked correctly.
Once cooked, meats need to be served immediately. If there are leftovers, quickly put them in the refrigerator before going to eat. Meats that are left out at room temperature for a couple of hours are no longer safe.
After slicing meats on a cutting board, the board needs to be washed and sterilized. Different cutting boards should be used for vegetables and meats. To make this easy, get a large cutting board and use one side for meats and the other side for vegetables. A wood-burning tool can make it easy to mark one side with a V and the other with an M.
Is it time for your parents to have help with meal preparation? Caregivers can come to their home and prepare and serve meals. If your parents have risked their health to food poisoning, it’s time. Call a home care agency and ask about the cost of having caregivers cook meals for your parents.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Yuba City, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423
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