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Careful in the Kitchen
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer


(Page 1 of 5)

The best place to be as a child was in Grandma’s kitchen, especially when she’s taking a fresh tray of cookies out of the oven. Sneaking a bite of cookie dough was a must for any youngster. Grandma may have thought nothing of it then, but today, the risks of eating raw eggs are well known. For seniors, these stakes are even higher. A caregiver may be today’s gateway to good health for their loved one, starting at the basic knowledge of food safety.

My, how times have changed

It’s safe to say that the way the world “goes round” today is much more advanced than it was 10 years ago. A decade can make a big difference. In 2000, the Internet was just taking shape. Today, it’s a necessity for almost all people’s daily lives. So, if a decade can change things, what about four, or five, even more? Some loved ones may be reaching into their 80s or 90s, and in the 1950s or 60s, when they were raising their families, doing most of their own baking and cooking, life was a lot different.

The way food is produced, harvested, distributed and prepared has evolved hand-in-hand with technology. Scientific advances have shown that new and dangerous bacteria and viruses can be found in foods; these microorganisms were not even known years ago. Food modification, mass production and mass distribution have led people away from homegrown, fresh vegetables and meat, leading almost all to rely on others, even those long distances away, to provide for their daily nutritional needs.

Science has identified illnesses that can come from food, as well as ways people in the later years of life are more susceptible to contracting foodborne health issues. A caregiver has the responsibility to know and respect the way a loved one used to live, while teaching and helping them understand the way they must live to be healthy today.

Special Risks for Seniors

Foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, can be serious, even fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year 76 million people fall ill, 325,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 die from food-related infections and illness in the United States. Many of these victims are very young, very old, or have weakened immune systems, unable to fight infection normally.

 

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