As a caregiver, you are responsible for the well-being of your aging parent or a loved one. For people over the age of sixty, bone related injuries and disease increases. Caregivers Connection has five helpful facts and tips about maintaining strong bones.
Approximately half of all women over the age of fifty, and approximately 1 in 4 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Being a caregiver for an older adult, you can help them maintain strong bones.
When you think about the importance of strong bones, remember this analogy — the body is like a building and the bones are like the frame of the building. If a building does not have strong framing, it will collapse; if the body does not have strong bones, it will collapse.
Choose calcium-rich foods: Milk, yogurt, cheese and kefir are great sources of calcium. Choosing non-dairy sources adds to a well-rounded variety on the plate. Salmon, leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds offer good sources of calcium and are good for the diet in many other ways.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium from other foods. You can either take a supplement, or choose a fatty fish like salmon or sardines. Rice and soy beverages along with orange juice often come fortified with vitamin D.
Proper nutrition: Potassium, vitamin K and magnesium help the body absorb and use calcium. These important nutrients can be found in vegetables and fruit, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish. Protein helps to build muscle, which helps keep bones strong.
Stay Active: Staying active will depend on the mobility of your loved one. It’s good to aim for about 150 minutes each week. Weight bearing exercises like walking, hiking, low impact aerobics, golf and even dancing are excellent choices. Stretching exercises like yoga and tai chi can help improve balance and coordination, which in turn can lower the risk of falling and breaking bones.
Limit caffeine: Too much caffeine can decrease the amount of calcium that is absorbed. The rule of thumb is to have no more than 2-3 cups a day.
Strong bones will help keep your loved one in better physical health which will also aid in their overall emotional and mental health.