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Foods Seniors in Assisted Living Should Avoid

Plate of sushi

For seniors, enjoying the golden years of life should be a top priority. That means comfortable living, social engagement, plenty of age-appropriate activities, and most importantly, great health. While medical care and modern diagnostics can play a big role in remaining healthy, seniors can do a lot for their own good by staying fit and eating a diet rich in the right kind of nutrients.

But for residents in senior living communities on Long Island, it’s not just a matter of what’s eaten but what’s not eaten that can help preserve good health. There are many foods that just don’t meet the nutritional requirements for senior health, while others can be downright dangerous for seniors to consume. Even foods that are safe for younger people to consume can be problematic for seniors and can have long-term consequences on their health. That’s why it’s important that the cuisine offered at a Long Island assisted living community for seniors meets the unique standards for their elderly residents. Keep reading to learn more about the foods that seniors should avoid in order to preserve good health.


Though sushi is generally considered safe when properly prepared, there’s always the chance that something could go awry. While that’s may not be a big deal for young, healthy people, for seniors the issue can be compounded by age and immune systems that may not be as robust as they once were. Sushi is made from raw fish, which can contain parasites if not properly treated through freezing. Therefore, it’s best for seniors to avoid sushi since the consequences of a foodborne illness are greater for people of advanced age.

Undercooked Eggs

Some people prefer the texture and taste of runny eggs, but for seniors, that represents a delicacy that is better left unconsumed. Because the immune systems of seniors aren’t as strong as those of younger people, eating runny eggs can be quite dangerous thanks to the potential for salmonella exposure. Therefore, it’s best to avoid them altogether and opt instead for eggs with whites and yolks that are completely cooked through.

Deli Meats

While not necessarily common, deli meats and cold cuts have been known to be one of the primary vectors for transmission of listeria, a foodborne pathogen that can create severe gastrointestinal distress and even be life-threatening for seniors with compromised immune systems. Also, many cold meats, such as prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, and soppressata, are cold cured, which means they’re cured and fermented for preservation rather than being cooked. That can allow pathogens responsible for toxoplasmosis to survive. While that’s usually not a problem for younger people with good immune systems, it can be problematic for seniors.

Blue cheese


Though they are a great source of nutrition for many people, sprouts can cause issues for seniors. Because of the warm, damp growing conditions required for sprouting, there is a possibility for the presence of bacteria such as E. coli, listeria, and salmonella. Those bacteria can take a heavy toll on the health of anyone who ingests them, but they can be especially virulent in senior citizens. Seniors should avoid eating raw sprouts since the risks outweigh the nutritional benefits.

Soft Cheeses

Soft cheeses such as brie, Roquefort, blue cheese, and camembert may contain bacteria that can be harmful to seniors. Unless they’re cooked, they should be avoided to prevent illness that could have long-lasting consequences for seniors. The combination of less acidity and increased moisture content can make soft cheeses a perfect environment for bacteria like listeria, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. If you do want to eat a soft cheese, make sure that it’s baked first to prevent potential pathogen exposure.

Seniors must be cautious when formulating a diet plan because foods that are generally considered safe for the younger population may wreak havoc on the health of those who’ve reached advanced age. To learn more, contact Oyster Bay Senior Campus at (516) 460-9722.

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Oyster Bay Senior Campus continues to evolve during the coronavirus pandemic. We have and continue to go to great lengths to protect our residents and staff. We are currently accepting new admissions to accommodate residents who require additional support due to mild cognitive or residents with memory care needs in a secure environment.