Bone loss is a natural part of the aging process, but quite a bit can be done to slow its progression. With healthy dietary choices and a good exercise plan, seniors can keep their bones healthy and dense for many years to come. Here are a few ways older adults can strengthen their bones and reduce their risk of fractures.
Consume More Calcium
Calcium is vital to bone health, and many seniors are deficient in this nutrient. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, men and women over the age of 65 should try to consume at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Calcium can be found in a wide variety of dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk. Those who don’t enjoy dairy can get their calcium from tofu, kale, figs, sardines, beans, and broccoli.
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Increase Vitamin D Intake
Without vitamin D, the human body can’t metabolize and use some calcium and other important minerals. Fatty fish, meat, cheese, and eggs are all high in vitamin D. Direct exposure to sunlight can also stimulate the production of vitamin D, which is one of the reasons many health experts suggest spending time in the sun for around 30 minutes a day.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that consuming one to two servings of alcohol per day can suppress some of the chemicals that weaken bones. Before drinking any alcohol, seniors should first have a conversation with a medical professional. Alcohol negatively interacts with many different over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Raise Caloric Intake
Older adults who aren’t obese should make sure they’re consuming plenty of nutrient-dense foods every day. When the body is starved for calories, it will look for other source of energy. Seniors should speak with a registered dietitian about how many calories they need to consume each day. As a general rule, healthy seniors should aim for at least 2,000 calories a day if they’re relatively active.
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Engage in Weight-Bearing Exercises
Whenever bones are put under stress, they slowly begin to grow stronger. Many studies have shown that seniors who engage in weight-bearing exercises tend to have much lower rates of osteoporosis. Jogging, lifting weights, climbing stairs, and dancing are all great options for seniors. Simply using resistance bands a few days a week can drastically enhance a senior’s bone density and overall health.
Older adults who need help making healthy lifestyle choices should consider professional in-home care. In Tucson, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To create a customized in-home care plan for your parent, give us a call at (520) 276-6555 today.