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How to Help Your Elderly Parent Maintain a Healthy Back

Many seniors experience back pain. Whether it’s the result of a diagnosed condition or a poor night’s sleep, there are plenty of ways to minimize pain and enhance spinal health. By adopting the following strategies, you can help your senior loved one maintain a healthy back.

Promote Good Sleep Hygiene

For a healthy back, good sleep is essential. Practicing good sleep hygiene doesn’t simply mean getting eight hours of rest per night, but it also means creating a sleep environment that optimizes comfort. Seniors should have mattresses and pillows that suit their specific needs. For seniors with osteoarthritis, an adjustable bed may help them sleep at night, as elevating the knees can take the pressure off the spinal joints. When they’ve settled on a comfortable mattress and pillow, seniors should experiment with sleep position. For seniors with degenerative disc disease, many doctors recommend sleeping on the stomach, as it opens up the disc space and reduces the stress placed on the lower back. You can help by researching doctor-approved mattresses and sleep positions for your loved one’s back ailment.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Tucson families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. 

Suggest Wearing Supportive Shoes

For seniors with back issues, wearing the wrong shoes can exacerbate their condition. Even if your loved one is not planning on going for a jog or taking a long walk around the neighborhood, he or she should wear a pair of supportive shoes. You may also want to consider adaptive shoes, which are designed to compensate for mobility issues.

Make Sure Your Loved One Doesn’t Sit for Too Long

Seniors who have lower back pain should avoid sitting for extended periods. When the body is in a seated position, the lower spinal discs are under three times as much pressure as they are when the body is standing. To prevent the pain caused by sitting, your loved one should get up and stretch every 30 minutes and try to maintain good posture while sitting.

Encourage Regular Exercise

The spine is supported by the core muscles, which include the abdominals, the lower back muscles, and the obliques. When these muscles aren’t exercised regularly, they begin to atrophy, and the spine doesn’t receive the support it needs. To get rid of the associated pain, your loved one should try to exercise the muscles in his or her core. Simple exercises like side bends, leg lifts, and sit-ups can help seniors build their core, increase their balance, and reduce unnecessary spinal pressure.

Seniors who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. Tucson elderly care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. 

Ensure Adequate Hydration

As seniors age, they often experience decreased thirst. Even if they’re not thirsty, seniors need to drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day because dehydration can wreak havoc on the body. The soft tissues in the joints need water to stay fluid and elastic. When the body becomes too dehydrated, the joints can become brittle and more susceptible to injury. Make sure your loved one always drinks his or her daily dose of water.

Maintaining a healthy back is just one of the many ways older adults can retain their independence. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Tucson seniors can depend on. Call us at (520) 276-6555 to schedule a free in-home consultation.