While eating ill-prepared or old food is not recommended for anyone, it's of greater importance that seniors, especially those with chronic illnesses, avoid these choices as they are at an increased risk of food poisoning when compared to the younger population.
According to LiveScience, as people get older, their immune systems don't respond as well to handling infectious organisms and anything that can make them sick. Similarly, chronic diseases reduce the immune system's response as well.
Men and women can get food poisoning by eating food items contaminated with bacteria, parasites or viruses, leading to symptoms of nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. Some of the most likely sources include meat and chicken, unpasteurized milk, contaminated water, raw produce, smoked or salted fish, undercooked ground beef or shellfish and raw eggs, said the source.
Symptoms usually go away on their own, but in some cases further treatment may be required. This is especially true if the individual suffers dehydration, which can be dangerous.
Senior care services can provide assistance if an older adult contracts food poisoning. Caregivers can watch their symptoms for signs of dehydration or the need for treatment. In-home elder care can also help prepare meals to ensure that everything is cooked properly.