How Old is that Milk?? Paying Attention to the Fridge

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Elderly Care Concerns in Mansfield, OH

As a caregiver, I had a tendency to pay attention to certain things as soon as I arrived at a new patient’s house. One of these was to go through the refrigerator to check for various items and their expiration dates.Elderly Care Mansfield OH

As an in-home care provider, I felt that it was my responsibility to look out for the best interest of all of my patients, regardless of whether they were new for me, new to home care, how old they were, or any other issues. I felt that one of the most common things I noticed in the past working with elderly patients was that you could find a host of incredible science experiments growing inside of the refrigerators. Of course, I’m sure that this is true of many people across country, regardless of their age. Over time, when you have leftovers, sour cream, milk, or other items that will go bad relatively quickly, and they get shoved into the back or forgotten on the shelf of the refrigerator, one day you realize that you are in the middle of a horror movie.

One day I stopped by a new patient’s house to work with him. I checked to make sure that he was okay and I told him that I would be going through his refrigerator and did he know if there is anything that had expired and there. He didn’t have a clue. In fact, he claimed that he hadn’t open that refrigerator in months. I asked him how he was surviving and he told me that he drank water, ate frozen meals from his freezer, or had canned goods and that was it. That was a different issue that we were going to have to address altogether.

So I opened that refrigerator and was aghast at what I saw. If I didn’t know better, I would have believed that the milk, cheese, cold cuts, sour cream, cottage cheese, and even hotdogs were about to come to life and stalk me for the rest of my days. There was milk in there that was over a year old. The sour cream was dated from the last presidency. I was mortified and afraid to even open these items to check them out. I close the refrigerator door and headed to the local hardware store to pick up industrial size garbage bags in a big garbage can.

Everything, from the milk that probably had a color texture worse than a well maintained lawn, went into that trashcan and I didn’t open the single thing.

I went about cleaning the refrigerator with the strongest disinfectant I could find that was also safe around food.

It took me several hours, but at least we had a good starting point for my new patient. I know he appreciated it because, as he had mentioned a couple of weeks later when we are talking about it, he too had become afraid to even open the refrigerator. It’s important to check the refrigerator for an elderly patient when you’re their caregiver. The life you save may just be your own.

If you or an aging loved one needs elderly care services in Mansfield Ohio, call the caring staff at Central Star Home Health. Providing services for families in Mansfield, Lexington, Ashland, Bellville, Crestline, Galion, Loudonville, Mt. Gilead, Shelby, Wooster and the surrounding areas.

About the author: Tracy Clark
Tracy began working for Star Multi Care as the Administrator of the Mansfield, Ohio office in March, 2012. In January, 2014 she was relocated to Florida to assume the role as Branch Administrator of the Pembroke Pines and subsequently the Home Health Liaison until coming back to Ohio in June, 2015. Prior to working at Star Multi Care, Tracy attended Marion Technical School for Business Administration and served as a United States Army Medic during Desert Shield. However, her true life’s work was awakened while spending 12 years in the long term care and assisted living arena. She quickly learned that assisting older adults was a passion that could not be denied. Tracy takes pride in being able to meet with each of her clients upon admission. Getting to know each of them enables her to personalize the care they receive and to direct her staff to ensure they receive the highest quality of care. In addition to her role as Home Health Liaison, Tracy has always been active in her community. She has served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board as Secretary, is a Certified Salvation Army National Disaster Responder, one of 1500 Specialists in 50 states to complete Mather LifeWays “PREPARE” training which trains professionals to address the medical and psychosocial needs of elderly residents affected by emergency situations, a member of the Advisory Committee for the Clinical Care Specialist Program at Madison Adult Career Center and is a member of various professional organizations throughout southeast Florida.