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Importance of Food Safety Education for Seniors

By Lauren Robison, 8:00 am on

Many seniors want to remain independent as they age, which often means continuing to prepare their own meals. If this describes your loved one, it’s important to make sure they have a clear understanding of food safety procedures.

At Home Care Assistance, we’ve been providing hourly and live-in care for seniors in New Hampshire for years and have seen that many seniors may not be up-to-date with the proper food safety procedures. In some cases, a senior has been preparing meals the same way for decades and are unaware of today’s refrigeration safety guidelines. Others may suffer from mild memory loss which prevents them from remembering some of the kitchen safety rules that were once second nature. No matter what the reasons, we wanted to share some of the most important food safety tips for seniors, especially since the older population is more susceptible to foodborne illness!

The Food and Drug Administration recommends four simple guidelines for food safety. Review the below with your loved one and make sure that he or she is able to follow these rules when preparing meals.

  1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often, especially when preparing raw meat and other contaminants. Encourage your loved one to use antibacterial soap and safe kitchen cleaning products.
  2. Separate: This step refers to the importance of keeping contaminants like raw meat and fish away from other types of food, such as vegetables. Make sure your loved one uses separate utensils and cutting boards when preparing raw meat, and that these utensils are thoroughly washed in hot water after using.
  3. Cook: Food (especially meat) should always be cooked to the safe temperatures recommended by the FDA. In addition, meals that are reheated as leftovers should always be heated to an internal temperature of 165F before consuming.
  4. Chill: Bacteria in food can multiply quickly at room temperature. Encourage your loved one to refrigerate leftovers immediately, especially if he or she plans on eating them for another meal.

By following these steps, your loved one will greatly reduce his or her risk for contracting foodborne illness, which is especially dangerous for the senior population. If you feel your loved one is unable to perform these tasks independently, reach out to Home Care Assistance of New Hampshire today. Our highly trained New Hampshire caregivers can assist with a variety of tasks from nutritious meal preparation to medication reminders and personal care. Their presence ensures the safety of seniors and allows families to enjoy peace of mind knowing their loved one is in safe and caring hands.

To learn more about New Hampshire hourly care or 24 hour care and monitoring, call 603-471-3004 and speak with a Care Manager. We offer complimentary in-home consultations and are available 24/7 to answer your questions.