Grilling Tips for SeniorsJune 27, 2023
We’ve all been anxiously anticipating summer since January, but last week was finally the official start of the season. For many individuals, the warmer weather is practically synonymous with grilling. It is estimated that roughly 128.5 million households in the United States—roughly 60%— own a grill.
For many seniors, grilling is more than a delicious way to get food on the table—it’s a hobby too! You’re likely eager to get outside and enjoy the fresh over some freshly barbecued food. However, it’s important you don’t do so without a plan. Remembering these grilling tips for seniors will not only help you stay safe, but give you great options for healthy dishes.
Grill safety tips for seniors
At your age, you’re likely confident that you know your way around a grill. Even if you’ve been hosting barbecues for decades, it is still essential that you familiarize yourself with proper grill safety—you are working with fire, after all! In doing so, you will keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home as safe as possible.
Keep the grill clean
Did you know that 20% of all structure and yard fires take place because of a grill that isn’t clean? You may think fire would burn off any debris that could linger on the grill, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Grease build-ups can cause dangerous, unmanageable flames.
Before you use your grill, give it a cursory cleaning. After using it, allow it to cool down. Then, wipe away any grease, empty the grill pan, and wash it.
Leave the grill in a safe location
Leaving your grill outside isn’t enough. For the sake of your personal safety, as well as the safety of your home, your grill should be at least 10 feet away from your home, garage, or any other structure that could catch fire. Never leave your grill in a location where the ground is uneven, as one incorrect bump could send it toppling.
You should also be mindful of what you leave around the grill. Do not keep it in the vicinity of anything that is combustible, such as a bag of charcoal or a wooden planter. If you use a cane or walker for assistance be mindful of where you place it while working.
Never leave the grill unattended
You may be tempted to step inside to watch some television while your food is cooking, but this could be seriously dangerous. Sit in a nearby, outdoor chair to keep an eye on the grill. If you have to step away for any reason, have someone take over watching it for you.
If the grandchildren are over when you’re grilling, call the surrounding area a kid-free zone. Try not to keep it in a path where they may be running around, and of course, always keep an eye on it!
Grill with a friend
When dealing with an open flame, it is best to have someone else nearby. They can keep a watchful eye on the situation while you tend to ingredients and can also spot you they can also be sure nothing goes wrong. For seniors with limited mobility, having someone nearby is especially pertinent.
Gas grill tips
- Inspect hoses and connections for damage before use
- If you suspect a leak and there is no flame, turn off the tank and grill and call a professional to service it
- If you smell gas while cooking, step away and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill
- Do not turn on the gas with the lid closed, as gas may build up while inside and could blow off when ignited
Charcoal grill tips
- Charcoal grills can remain at high heat for hours after use, so avoid placing any flammable objects near the grill while the coals are hot
- Check for rust damage in metal grills before use
- Do not add starter fluid when coals/kindling have already been ignited
Healthy dishes to cook
Some of the most popular foods to cook are steaks and hamburgers. These are obviously delicious, but don’t forget to include some healthy options on the grill too. Chicken grills quite easily directly on the grate. To cook seafood, wrapping it in aluminum foil first is the best option.
You may be surprised to learn that many vegetables grill beautifully! Items like corn, asparagus, zucchini, and bell pepper are great on the barbecue, as the smoke adds fantastic flavor. Leave them relatively large so they don’t slip through the grates, but if you would like to create a medley it can be wrapped in tin foil or cooked on vegetable kabobs. For other side dishes, stick to fruit salad.
If you’d like something sweet on a special occasion, you can even throw desserts on the grill. Fruit skewers, pies in a cast iron skillet, s’mores, and grilled pound cake are all fun things to give a try.
Stay safe at home with the help of a caregiver
While you may enjoy grilling, other forms of cooking may be less than desirable for you. You may struggle running to the grocery store for ingredients, and cleaning up afterward may be exhausting. If this sounds familiar, don’t let your quality of life suffer because of it. Call upon the help of an at-home caregiver.
At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff assists seniors with all non-medical activities of daily living, from meal preparation, to laundry, to personal care. We work with you to ensure you have all the resources and support you need to age in place, which has been shown to be wonderful for the mental health of seniors.
If you’re curious about how home care can improve your quality of life, give us a call at 773-274-9262.
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