With the arrival of warmer weather across the country, many people are venturing out of the kitchen and out to the grill. It’s important to remember that while this summer pastime is always fun – it can also be dangerous.
1. Cook your meat thoroughly:
Food poisoning can hit a person receiving in-home care very hard. It is something that can easily happen when a hamburger or steak is not on the grill long enough. There is a risk of getting E. coli, salmonella or another bacteria. The bottom line is that you want to make sure and check the meat before you eat it. If it looks a little too raw, hunger can wait for a few more minutes on the grill. Consider using a meat thermometer and guidelines to truly verify that the type of meat you are cooking has reached the proper internal temperature.
2. That’s hot – watch out:
As we age, our reflexes become less sharp and this can affect safety around a hot grill. If you have an elder loved one over for an outdoor BBQ, make sure to seat them a good distance from the hot grill so they don't have to rely on their reflexes as much. It is easy for a little mistake to create a very big burn. Keep them involved in the overall experience by engaging them in conversation about the yard, what you're cooking, asking about their favorite BBQ memory, and more.
3. Grilling is a group activity:
If your elder loved one enjoys cooking on the grill regularly, offer to come over to join them for these mealtimes so they aren't always lighting this by themselves. A faulty propane tank can cause a fire and charcoal can cause serious burns if there is a spill. With an eye on the dangers, it’s best to try and arrange a group of people to enjoy good barbecued food. Someone with diminished senses, due to a chronic condition or advanced age, may not hear the hiss of a burner and it may take them a second too long to react to a sudden influx of heat. A senior can enjoy watching someone grill just as much as doing it themselves. They can also mix the sauce or the spice rub or take part in the meal preparation in a less dangerous way. Make sure you focus on what parts they safely can do, instead of what they can’t.
These simple steps can greatly reduce the likelihood of unplanned hospital stays as well as enable a healthier and more independent lifestyle for seniors.