Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when there are low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. As a result, bones become weak and fragile. Affected bones can break (fracture) with a minor injury that usually would not cause a bone to fracture.
Many things can contribute to bone loss in seniors. The simple act of ageing affects bone health. We can’t prevent ageing; however, we can help limit exposure to things that speed up bone loss.
• Decreased physical activity.
• Poor diet or malnutrition, including side effects of weight loss surgery.
• Alcohol and tobacco use.
• Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
• Gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.
• Liver and kidney disease.
• Cancer and cancer treatments.
• Blood disorders such as lymphoma and sickle cell disease.
• Neurological disorders like stroke, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
While this bone-destroying disease, osteoporosis, can be treated, however, it’s much better to help prevent it. If your loved one already shows signs of bone loss, it’s not too late with lifestyle changes. These suggestions can help enrich your loved one’s life, adding some fun and providing opportunities for new experiences.
It’s no secret that calcium is the king of bone health. For seniors, it’s especially important to maintain a steady intake to help strengthen bones. According to the Mayo Clinic, women over 50 and men over 70 need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. Also, great options include low-fat dairy, green leafy vegetables, and soy products like tofu.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. While many seniors can get this vital nutrient from sunlight, many find it challenging to get outdoors. Some popular food choices include fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, cheese, eggs, and vitamin-fortified foods like orange juice and cereals.
Protein is an often-overlooked nutrient that helps prevent bone loss and, perhaps, osteoporosis. Your bones need protein to repair and replenish properly, but you also need it for muscle health. Lack of protein is a significant problem for vegans and vegetarians. Even those who eat meat can come up short. Add in lots of eggs, legumes, soy, and dairy. Also, you can add protein supplements, powders, and snacks for an extra boost.
Nevertheless, every person should spend at least 15 minutes a day being active. More is always better. Weight-bearing exercises help build strong muscles, but it doesn’t mean seniors need to become bodybuilders. Even the simple act of walking around the neighbourhood or through the house will be beneficial. Movements that encourage flexibility and balance are good choices, too. They help prevent falls and osteoporosis that could cause weakened bones to break.
Make diet changes fun by including your senior loved one in these kitchen activities. Exploring new recipes together can be an excellent way to connect and deepen bonds. For seniors, learning new kitchen skills can help enrich their lives, too. Writing a weekly menu, putting together a shopping list, and even food journaling are good ways to build memories together. Classes, videos, or in-home sessions are all ways for seniors to stay active and engaged.
If your schedule doesn’t allow you to be there for daily exercises or meal preparation, a caregiver can bring movement, a healthy diet, and socialization time to your loved one. Give us a call today to see how our home care agency can help!