5 Simple Ways Seniors Can Maintain Healthy Bones

Statistics indicate 200 million older adults around the world have osteoporosis, including approximately a third of older women. The diagnosis refers to skeletal bones being less dense and more fragile, which increases the likelihood of fractures. Osteoporosis commonly leads to spontaneous fractures, which means weight-bearing bones break without much effort, leading to falls. However, there are several lifestyle changes seniors can adopt to ensure ongoing bone health. 

1. Exercise Regularly

Seniors should engage in some form of weight-bearing exercise 30 minutes a day up to five times a week to strengthen their bones. The activity stimulates the growth of new bone cells while building muscle strength and increasing balance. Older women who exercise regularly can reduce their likelihood of falling. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional care at a respite care home. Edmonton families can rely on Butterfly Dreams Respite Care. We are here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

2. Get Sufficient Calcium Intake

Seniors need 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day, according to the Institute of Medicine, and they can ensure they get sufficient quantities of calcium by consuming fat-free or low-fat dairy products daily. Over-the-counter calcium supplements are another option. 

3. Increase Daily Intake of Vitamins

The body cannot use calcium without having sufficient quantities of vitamin D. Many dairy products are fortified with this essential vitamin. Spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in direct sunlight also helps the body produce vitamin D. Vitamin K is also necessary for calcium regulation and bone cell formation. Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of vitamin K. Many of these vegetables also supply calcium. Magnesium ensures calcium enters bone tissue, and vitamin C stimulates the enzymes needed to ensure bone cell growth and bone strength. Both nutrients are found in lean meats and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Older adults should strive to get five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Family caregivers also need to pay attention to their own health, and that involves taking time to nurture their own wellbeing. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Edmonton, Alberta, families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. 

4. Eat Foods High in Protein

Older adults need to consume at least a third of their daily calories as protein. Protein is necessary to stimulate a specific growth hormone that encourages new bone cell development and growth. Lean meats are a rich source of vitamin B, which is another nutrient needed to build and maintain strong bones. Daily protein consumption for older adults should be in the range of: 
  • 46–75 grams for women 
  • 56–91 grams for men

5. Get Regular Bone Density Scans

A bone density test, also known as a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, is a simple noninvasive test that determines bone density. The test merely requires a senior to lie on a cushioned table while a low dose of X-rays scan the hips and spine. Upon completion of the test, the senior gets a “T score,” which compares his or her bone density with that of younger adults. Scores ranging from +1.0 to -1 indicate normal bone thickness. On the other hand, a score of -1 to -2.5 or lower indicates abnormally low bone density. If bone density is too low, healthcare providers typically recommend several treatment options, which may include dietary changes, exercise, and medications. Maintaining strong bones is only one of many areas of focus for seniors who want to stay healthy, and some may need a bit of assistance. In Edmonton, respite home caregivers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Butterfly Dreams Respite Care are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To learn about our high-quality respite care services, give us a call at 587-800-4822 today.