Food Safety for Seniors

food poisoning elderlyWe have all probably experienced an unfortunate incident of food poisoning at one point or another, either from poorly cooked or stored food, or from a questionable eating establishment on holiday. The human body is equipped with an incredible immune system that allows us to recover from the illness, but for senior citizens their immune systems may be weakened either by illness or age, and can be at risk of serious complications. For this reason, when it comes to seniors and their diet, special precautions need to be made to ensure that food is safe.

The first thing you need to ensure is that food is always properly stored and prepared in the house. This can best be guaranteed by always doing grocery shopping last on an outing (so nothing is sitting in the car awaiting refrigeration for very long), and that it goes into the fridge immediately. Purchasing frozen food is often advantageous, as the risk of food going bad is eliminated. Canned goods are also a solution. When it comes to food preparation at home, always err on the safe side, cooking thoroughly any products containing meat or eggs, and avoiding non-dried deli meats and unpasteurised dairy products.

When eating out, always ask for food to be carefully handled and well-cooked. Avoid pates, sushi or other uncooked fish, undercooked meats (like steak), all unpasteurised cheeses as well as blue and soft cheeses. If any foods have been known to upset the stomach, avoid them entirely in unfamiliar environments.

As an extra precaution, take special care in sanitising the kitchen and all kitchen equipment, especially if raw meat has been prepared. If you use reusable shopping bags, always wash them after transporting raw meat.

And lastly, if your senior loved one experiences nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, vomiting, or fever at any point, seek medical attention as quickly as possible.