It seems like every couple of months a new listeria outbreak is announced. When food items are recalled, you know to purge the kitchen of the potentially contaminated food, but you may not really know what listeria is or how it can affect your aging relative’s health. Gaining a better understanding of listeria could help you to spot the signs of listeria infection in your elderly family member and help them to avoid it.
What is Listeria?
Listeria is a kind of bacteria that infects people through consuming contaminated foods. When a person has a listeria infection, it is called listeriosis. The most common way that people get listeriosis is by eating deli meats that weren’t processed correctly or through unpasteurized dairy products. In fact, a recent listeria outbreak that killed one person and made eight others ill was traced back to deli meats and cheeses that were sold in four states.
Although listeriosis is rarely serious for healthy individuals, older adults who have compromised immune systems are at a greater risk for complications that can lead to death. Being treated for listeriosis early can reduce the chances of developing complications.
Symptoms of Listeria Infection
It can take a long time after eating a contaminated food for symptoms to appear. Usually symptoms start within 3 days, but it can take a month or more. Common symptoms of listeria include:
* Muscle aches.
If the infection spreads to the nervous system, your aging relative may also experience:
* Stiff neck.
* Balance problems.
* Being less alert.
Preventing Listeria Infection
Listeria infections can be prevented by taking precautions with the food that your aging relative eats. Some ways to avoid listeria are:
Clean Surfaces and Hands: Before preparing food, make sure you or the older adult washes their hands thoroughly using soap and water. Wash countertops, cutting boards, and utensils after preparing foods.
Wash Vegetables: All raw vegetables should be scrubbed before using.
Cook Food Thoroughly: Use a meat thermometer to check that all meats and poultry are cooked through.
As an extra precaution, the Mayo Clinic recommends that those with weakened immune systems avoid eating or be extra careful with the following foods:
* Soft and Mexican-style cheeses that have not been made using pasteurized milk.
* Hot dogs, lunch meats, and deli meats.
* Meat spreads and pates.
* Refrigerated smoked seafood.
Elderly care can help your older family member to prevent a listeria infection. Elderly care providers can prepare meals for the elderly person, following proper safety measures to clean produce and cooking surfaces. Elderly care providers can also help seniors to avoid foods that are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Evanston IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.
Elderly Care for Parkinson's Disease: Addressing Bedroom Safety and Independence Issues
Elderly Care in Evanston IL
Simply because your aging parent has Parkinson's disease does not mean that they are not able to live an engaged, fulfilling quality of life. With your help and proper elderly care, they can still maintain as much independence as possible and live out the lifestyle that is best for them throughout much of the progression of the disease. One of the most important ways that you can help them to accomplish this goal is by helping them make meaningful modifications throughout their home that address safety and independence issues as relate to their Parkinson's symptoms.
While it is common to make modifications to areas of the home such as the kitchen and the bathroom, these are not the only rooms of the house that can benefit from such changes. One room of the home that is often overlooked when it comes to making meaningful modifications to accommodate changes related to Parkinson's disease and other challenges of aging but that can make a tremendous difference in your parent's life is the bedroom.
The bedroom is where your parent spends a considerable amount of time and where they are often at their most vulnerable. Many people report that their symptoms are worst at night when they are tired from the day, and some people experience increased stiffness and other symptoms first thing in the morning. This means that they are at particular risk for issues such as falls. Simple modifications throughout this room can help your aging parent get better rest, improving their health and even enabling them to control their condition better as they avoid accidents and other issues.
Use these tips to help you address the safety and independence issues of Parkinson's disease within your parent's bedroom:
• Adjust the bed height. A bed that is too high off the ground is a major fall hazard. Your parent should be able to put their feet flat on the ground when sitting on the edge of the bed. This provides greater security and control when getting into and out of the bed.
• Add a side rail. Adding a side rail to the bed can help your aging parent stay safer in several ways. Many people with PD experience very fitful sleep including rolling, flailing, thrashing, and kicking. This can result in them falling out of bed. A side rail offers a boundary that keeps them in place. The rail can also be used for leverage to help your parent sit up or stand out of bed. Even with this help, getting into and out of bed can be extremely challenging to an adult with PD, especially in the later stages. An elderly health care services provide can be invaluable in offering hands-on assistance that keeps your parent safe during these movements.
• Provide accessible lighting. You do not want your parent to have to walk through a completely dark room to get to the lamp. This can cause a trip and fall, or your parent could injure themselves by walking into something. Instead, add lights around the room that are easy for your parent to get to. Look for mobile light switches that allow you to attach the system to a lamp and then place the light switch wherever they want it to be. They can then flip it just like they would any other switch.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Evanston, IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.