If you are involved in the well-being of your aging parent or a loved one, it’s important to recognize that people over the age of sixty are more prone to bone related injuries and disease increases.
Approximately half of all women over the age of fifty, and approximately 1 in 4 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Encouraging your loved one to maintain strong bones will allow them to age in place longer.
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.
With smarter food choices comes stronger bones, and better overall health. Together, they can help keep your loved one in better physical health which will also aid in their overall emotional and mental health.