A broken hip can be devastating. It’s imperative to maintain bone health to avoid breaks and prevent bone loss. Help the older adult in your life to follow these five tips to preserve bone health.
1. Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin supplements are readily available at your local pharmacy, but many doctors recommend “eating” your vitamins through diets of vitamin-rich foods. Some foods that are good sources of vitamin D are herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, liver, eggs, and fortified milk. Stock your older loved one’s kitchen with milk, eggs, canned herring and sardines, and browse our healthy recipe board on Pinterest for recipes featuring these foods rich in vitamin D.
2. Perform weight-bearing exercises
Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes per day. The best exercises for increasing bone density are weight-bearing exercises – which means that the exercises are performed when standing up, requiring you to support your body weight. Simple activities like walking and climbing stairs are excellent choices. Circuit training (weight machines), available in most independent living communities, are also exceptional for increasing bone strength.
3. Lay off the cigarettes
It’s never too late to quit smoking. Did you know cigarette smoking was first identified as a risk factor for osteoporosis more than 20 years ago? The best thing smokers can do to protect their bones is to quit smoking. Smoking cessation, even later in life, may help limit smoking-related bone loss.
4. Schedule a bone density test
Has your older loved one had a Bone Density Test? If not, it’s time to get started with a baseline. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone density test for:
- women age 65+
- men age 70+
- men and women who break a bone after age 50
- women of menopausal age with risk factors
- post-menopausal women under age 65 with risk factors
- men age 50-69 with risk factors
The test is painless, non-invasive, and takes only a few minutes. Learn more about it in this informative article from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
5. Be aware of medications which can impact bone density
When some degree of bone loss comes with the aging process, certain medications can accelerate the process. If your older loved one is taking anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory medications, such as for rheumatoid arthritis, or anti-cancer drugs, talk with their doctor about whether the specific medications can contribute to bone loss. Get more information on webmd.