Take steps to maintain bone health in seniors with recommendations from Visiting Care Giving Services.
Strong and healthy bones are essential to overall health, providing support and structure for the body and helping people move. Osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens bones, impacts millions of Americans, putting older adults at an increased risk for falls and fractures. While osteoporosis is a disease that primarily impacts women, men can also be diagnosed. May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, and following a physician’s approval, Visiting Care Giving Services recommends the following lifestyle and nutrition habits to help maintain bone health in seniors.
Include strength training and weight-bearing exercise in a weekly routine. These are two of the best activities for bone health and for preventing bone loss as people age. Weight-bearing exercises can help increase bone strength and size. Strength-training exercises help increase muscle mass and have been shown to protect against bone loss. Local senior centers and YMCAs often have exercise programs that are designed to help seniors remain active and build strength and balance. There are also a number of online resources that can help encourage regular exercise at home.
Get the recommended amount of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps grow and maintain healthy bones. Calcium can be found in dairy products, dark, leafy vegetables eaten raw or lightly steamed, salmon and sardines, fortified cereals, breads and other foods made with grains, and as an additive in some fruit juices. Getting enough calcium each day is critical to bone health. It is recommended that adult women ages 51 + get 1,200 mg/day and that all men over age 71 receive 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Getting adequate vitamin D helps bodies absorb the necessary calcium. Older adults should speak with their physician about ensuring adequate calcium intake to determine if a supplement is necessary.
Consume adequate protein. A well-rounded diet that is high in protein encourages strong bones and muscles. Stick to lean proteins such as poultry, lean ground beef, low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cottage cheese, beans and legumes, salmon, tuna, and eggs.
Eat lots of vegetables. As part of a well-rounded, high protein diet, it’s important to include plenty of vegetables with each meal and as snacks. Vegetables are a natural source of vitamin C which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells and can protect bone mass in older adults.
Eat foods high in omega-3 fats. Omega-3s have been shown to fight inflammation and improve bone and joint health. Salmon, oysters, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are just a few examples of foods high in omega-3s.
Maintain a healthy, stable weight. Repeatedly losing or gaining weight can impact overall bone health. Incorporate regular exercise and maintain healthy eating habits in order to support bone health throughout the aging process.
The care professionals at Visiting Care Giving Services can help older adults maintain bone health in a variety of ways. Whether encouraging regular physician-approved exercise, shopping for and preparing nutritious meals, providing transportation and accompaniment to regular doctor visits, or a variety of other in-home care services, our team is available to help ensure older adults are living healthy and active lifestyles. Additionally, our caregiving team can provide a safety assessment of the home in order to identify trip and fall hazards that may result in fractures or other injuries.