Do you know that our bone tissue constantly breaks down and regenerates throughout our lives? For young people, the production of our bone tissue is much quicker as compared to when we grow older, which explains why older adults are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes this production to be slower than the loss of tissue. As such, the bones will eventually lose their strength and mass, resulting in them becoming more fragile and prone to fractures. Due to brittle bones, light activities like walking and even bending down can be challenging for loved ones. In some serious cases, coughing can also cause fractures. If you’re caring for someone with osteoporosis, here are ways you can do so in order to improve their quality of life.
Encourage Healthy Lifestyle Choices
When it comes to osteoporosis, lifestyle choices play a hugely essential role. Drinking too much alcohol and smoking excessively increase the rate of bone loss and the likelihood of obesity. For the latter, this starts a chain reaction as being overweight can increase the chances of broken bones, especially if the person has fallen. As such, try to remind and encourage your loved ones to practice healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercising more and eating more healthily, specifically consuming a diet that’s rich in vitamin D, calcium, and protein. These nutrients help to strengthen and maintain healthy bones. Foods and beverages that should be avoided besides alcohol are coffee, tea, and any foods high in sodium.
Recommend Weight-Bearing Exercises
No matter what age, it’s crucial to lead an active lifestyle in order to build up our body’s strength and keep us healthy. However, this should be more prioritized for elderly folks with osteoporosis as fitness activities can help to make their bones stronger and denser. Weight-bearing exercises, in particular, are the best since they not only target the bones, but also protect the joints as they work to improve the body’s flexibility, coordination, and balance at the same time. Examples of weight-bearing exercises are tennis, jogging, and low-impact aerobics. Walking, climbing up the stairs, and gardening are also effective in building up strong bones, so your loved ones do not necessarily have to go to the gym.
Safety-Proof the Living Space
For older adults with osteoporosis, the biggest fear they might have is falling. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as falls can lead to serious and even fatal injuries, such as fractures and head trauma. As such, you should try to provide a safe and secure living environment for your loved ones, and a way to do so is by installing safety features. For example, you can install grab bars next to the toilet and shower area, and place non-slip mats in the bathroom. For the other areas in the house, make sure the walkways are free of clutter at all times, especially of exposed wires. You can also place assistive walking devices like canes within easy reach if your loved ones require one.