Food safety is vital for all people, and at all times of the year. While it is often emphasized during the summer when people tend to be eating outdoors in high temperatures, or during holidays, paying attention to the safety of all food is critical during all times of year, and all activities.
Most of the more than 48 million cases of foodborne illness or infection that occur in the United States each year occur in the home, or from foods prepared in the home rather than in a restaurant setting. Senior adults are more likely than younger adults to contract foodborne illness or infection for a variety of reasons, but one is sensory decline. Understanding these issues can help you to make changes in your care approach to continue protecting your parent from the potential of foodborne infection.
Use these tips to manage food safety for an elderly adult with sensory decline:
- Examine their kitchen, refrigerator, and pantry carefully on a regular basis to detect the presence of spills, mold, mildew, and other contamination that could lead to dangers in the food. Seniors with low vision may not be able to see small spills or signs of mold and mildew growth.
- Sanitize their sponge once a week, and replace it at least once a month.
- Seniors with low vision may have a more difficult time reading expiration dates on their food. Check their refrigerator and pantry regularly, and dispose of any foods that have expired.
- Seniors with sensory issues may have a more difficult time detecting subtle signs of spoilage such as a slightly off smell, or faint hints of mold. This can lead them to consume these foods, putting them at greater risk of contracting these illnesses or infections.
Challenges and limitations with basic daily functions such as their senses or mobility can be very hard on your aging parent. These symptoms can make daily tasks more difficult, and will require seniors who otherwise feel independent and autonomous to seek out help. Hiring home care services for such an elderly adult can be extremely beneficial.
A home care services provider can promote greater independence and autonomy by assisting your parent in continuing to complete as many tasks as possible on their own, modifying tasks to allow them to participate while handling other elements, providing physical support and assistance for mobility issues, and being there to provide transportation so your senior can stay active on their own terms. This can not only promote better health and safety, but also greater mental and emotional well-being.