Planning A Safe and Healthy Barbecue For Older Adults
by Jess Walter
Having a barbecue in the backyard is one of the best American pastimes that everyone participates in year-round, and seven out of ten adults in this country own a grill or a smoker. Seventy-two percent of grill owners say that they barbecue because it gives great flavor to their food, while 52 percent consider it an important part of their lifestyle. Older adults, in particular, love to take charge of the grill, as it enables them to demonstrate decades of expertise in the art of grilling, and it allows them to bond with younger family members while enjoying some good food and fresh air. To protect older family members and look after their well-being, it's important to have a safe barbecue area and prepare healthy options for the grill. Here's a guide to planning a safe and healthy barbecue for older adults.
Check the grill
Before having a barbecue, it's important to check the grill and all the equipment to keep elderly adults safe while they're grilling. If your loved one owns a flat top griddle, make sure that it's placed securely on a stable surface, and that the area around it is free of anything that could catch fire. If they're using an electric grill, check to see if the cord has any signs of fraying or damage, and have the cord replaced immediately if necessary. Meanwhile, if they're using a gas griller, it's important to check the gas tank hose for propane leaks. Doing so will prevent backyard fires and protect your loved one while they cook.
Protective clothing is a must
Clothing can easily catch fire, so make sure that your older family member isn't wearing clothes made of rayon or lyocell, as these fabrics are known to be highly flammable. Also, their shirt tails or sleeves shouldn't be dangling over the grill, so they shouldn't wear very loose or billowy clothing. Older adults should also wear an apron to keep their clothes clean and give them another layer of protection against grease spatters. Wearing close-toed shoes, such as sneakers, is also a must before firing up the grill.
Have healthy food options for the grill
Older adults who have health conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure should always make it a point to eat healthy, even at a Barbecue. So instead of having only fatty, thick cuts of meat for the grill, provide your elderly loved one with healthier alternatives, such as sukiyaki-style sliced beef, skinless turkey and chicken, and meat alternatives, such as fish and Portobello mushrooms. Use yogurt or pineapple juice to make healthy marinades and make barbecue sauce from scratch instead of buying ready-made ones, which are often high in sodium and fats. Also, avoid making sauces or rubs that are too spicy, as these can trigger heart burn, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal symptoms in elderly adults.
Keep your older loved ones safe and healthy while they grill. Try these tips to protect them from burns and other accidents, and have a great time making delicious barbecue with your family.