Elder Care Tips for Clearing Out Your Mom’s Pantry and Fridge

Elder Care Tips for Clearing Out Your Mom’s Pantry and Fridge

 March 28, 2023

A woman holding food in her hand while looking at it.

News of a recall on frozen strawberries was recently announced. This time the frozen fruit was contaminated with hepatitis A. This is not ideal when it comes to an aging adult’s health. How often are you cleaning your mom’s pantry, refrigerator, and freezer? If you don’t have the schedule to help your mom as often as you’d like, consider hiring an elder care professional to help.

Examine Packaging and Date Codes

Go through all of the foods your mom has and look at the date codes. Is anything expired? You need to look for use-by, sell-by, and freeze-by dates.

A sell-by date is a date for stores to use as guidance on when items must be sold by. It’s not an expiration date. The use-by and freeze-by dates are more important to pay attention to. Items need to be used or frozen by these dates.

While a gallon of milk that is a day or two past the sell-by date isn’t concerning, if it’s three weeks past the use-by date, dispose of it. Usually, you can smell when milk is going sour. If it smells off, don’t use it.

Flour, canned goods, rice mixes, soups, etc. all have dates. Pay attention to them. It’s better to compost expired foods that risk food poisoning.

Examine packaging at the same time. Pantry pests like larder beetles, flour moths, and ants can bet into opening packaging and wreak havoc. If there are signs of insects, compost the items. Using airtight containers and freezer bags can keep them from getting into food items.

Use Bleach and Water to Sanitize Surfaces

All cabinet shelves and refrigerator and freezer surfaces should be sanitized before you put foods back in. A diluted mixture of water and bleach is a quick and easy sanitizer. You can also use distilled vinegar.

Dry the surfaces and put foods that are still good back into the appropriate shelf or door compartment. Use containers to store smaller items like condiments and sauces. When those items are needed, you can slide the container out.

Check Food Safety Recalls

Visit the USDA’s and FDA’s website to check for the latest recalls and safety warnings. If you see anything on that list that your mom purchases regularly or may have purchased recently, find it and dispose of it. If it’s gone, pay attention to her health and watch for the symptoms that will appear if she has contracted a foodborne illness.

Would it help your mom to have someone else aiding her with meal preparation and grocery shopping? Talk to her about her weekly routine when it comes to meals and snacks. Once you understand where she needs help, call an elder care agency. A specialist in elder care can walk you through meal preparation assistance and arrange the services your mom needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elder Care in Oakland, PA, please contact the caring staff at In-Home Quality Care today. Serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area since 1990! Call 412-421-5202