More than 54 million people have some degree of osteoporosis, most of them seniors. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but it impacts more women than men. Hormonal shifts that happen to women after menopause can make women more susceptible to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes the deterioration of the tissue in bones. It makes bones brittle, and more prone to breaking. That’s one of the reasons why falls can be so devasting for seniors. If seniors have osteoporosis and their bones are weak a fall is likely to cause painful breaks in those brittle bones. Their elder care providers can help assist them in changing their habits and incorporating new ones.
Here are some things that seniors can do to lower the chances of getting osteoporosis:
Eat Vitamin Dense Foods
A nutrient-rich diet is crucial for bone health. Seniors should focus on getting sufficient calcium, vitamin D, and other bone-boosting nutrients. Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified cereals, and fatty fish are excellent sources.
If seniors aren’t eating a healthy diet, or they just aren’t getting enough calcium and vitamin D supplements may help. Seniors should consider calcium and vitamin D supplements after consulting with their healthcare provider.
Weight-bearing exercises, like walking, dancing, and resistance training, help to strengthen bones. Engaging in physical activity also improves balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls. Elder care can help seniors stay motivated to exercise every day and make sure that seniors get to the gym or exercise classes.
Seniors should take steps to minimize the risk of falls, as fractures are a significant concern for those with osteoporosis. This includes removing hazards at home, using handrails, and wearing appropriate footwear. Elder care can help seniors make sure their homes are free from tripping hazards.
There are many reasons why seniors shouldn’t smoke, but one of them is to preserve their bone health. Smoking is linked to lower bone density, so quitting can be a significant step towards osteoporosis prevention.
Don’t Drink Excessively
Excessive alcohol can interfere with calcium absorption and affect bone health. Limiting alcohol intake is advisable.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being underweight can increase the risk of osteoporosis, so seniors need to maintain a healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise. Similarly, if you’re overweight try losing some weight to reduce stress on your bones.
Eat More Protein
Protein is essential for bone health. Seniors should ensure they’re getting enough from sources like lean meats, legumes, and dairy. Most seniors don’t eat enough protein, so adding protein shakes or protein bars to their diets can help ensure they’re getting enough protein to be healthy.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Having too much caffeine can hurt your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins that keep bones strong. That doesn’t mean you need to quit having coffee in the morning but limit your coffee to one cup. Or switch to decaf.
Limit Soda Consumption
Colas are high in phosphoric acid, which can leach calcium from bones. Reducing soda intake can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Not drinking soda can also help seniors manage their weight better.
Maintain Healthy Hormone Levels
Hormone imbalances can lead to bone loss. Seniors should discuss hormone therapy options with their healthcare provider if necessary.
Start Weight Training
Resistance training with weights or resistance bands helps build muscle and strengthen bones. Seniors should consider joining a weight training group or getting physical therapy to help them build up their bone strength.
Take Healthy Fat Supplements
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and walnuts can contribute to bone health. Fish and avocados are also good natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.