Many people over the age of 65 have bone and joint health problems that cause inflammation, pain and deformities in their hips, knees, fingers and other areas. As aging bones weaken and joints stiffen, many seniors simply stop participating in activities like they used to. But when a senior is aging in place, leading a sedentary lifestyle can quickly place their freedom and independence at risk.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month and fortunately, there are several reliable ways to help a senior improve their bone and joint health so they can lead a more active and productive life:
Maintaining a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is important to our mobility and overall health. Along with high blood pressure, diabetes risk, heart problems and all the other things we know come with carrying excess weight, it also puts extra strain on our knees, hips, spine, etc.
Add calcium and Vitamin D to your diet. As we age, our bones are susceptible to osteoporosis, the thinning of our bones, which makes them more susceptible to fractures. Calcium in your diet and through vitamins is one of your most important weapons against osteoporosis. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, along with dark leafy greens and broccoli and certain types of fish such as salmon give you the calcium that’s so critical for bone strength.
Make sure to move. Mobility is key to keeping joints healthy. Before starting on any exercise regimen, check with your physician, or work with a physical therapist, or personal trainer experienced in working with seniors to know what would be best for you.
Know when to ask for help. Independence becomes more important as we age and we sometimes try and prove ourselves by overdoing things. While maintaining your home and yard are important and fulfilling, make sure you don’t exhaust or injure yourself. For example, if yard work leaves you achy and exhausted, consider asking for help.
If you have any questions or concerns about your bone and joint health, make sure to talk to your health care provider.