Around 10 million U.S. adults have osteoporosis. Another 44 million are believed to have low bone density. While men are at risk, it’s estimated that 50% of women will break a bone at least once because of osteoporosis. It’s called a silent disease as there are no signs your bones are weak until you break one.
Your mom has osteoporosis. You need to know what that means for her. How can you help her protect her bones and improve her bone health?
Ask About Supplements and Dietary Measures
Make sure your mom eats foods that are rich in vitamin D and calcium. Fortified cereals and fruit juices are one way to do that. Sardines are high in calcium, too. She should also eat plenty of low-fat dairy items like cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese. Her diet is important when it comes to strengthening bones.
Your mom can get some vitamin D from the sun, but she has to balance her exposure to the sun. The risks of excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays are sunburn and skin cancer. So, her doctor may recommend that she takes a vitamin D supplement instead.
Reduce Her Fall Risk
Help prevent accidental falls. Install grab bars in the bathroom near the toilet and inside and outside the shower and bathtub. Put in non-slip decals on the shower floor to prevent slips when the flooring is wet. A non-slip bath mat outside of the tub is helpful when stepping out after a bath or shower.
In other rooms, check for loose rugs and carpeting. Check that rails are sturdy on all interior and exterior staircases. Finally, install bright lighting throughout the home.
Encourage Her to Get a Bone Density Scan
Have your mom go to her doctor and get a bone density scan completed. If the test is below -2.5, she has a higher risk of fracturing a bone because her bones are thinning. If they’re very thin, her doctor may prescribe osteoporosis medications.
If she does take medications to improve her bone density, reminders to take her medications may be needed. It can be hard to get used to taking medications daily if you’ve never done it before.
Thirty minutes of exercise is recommended each day. Your mom needs to mix up the types of exercise she does. Strength training, walking, yoga, and aerobic exercise like Zumba are excellent ideas. If she needs help getting started due to her current fitness levels, talk to her doctor about a referral to a physical therapist.
Your mom needs to focus a lot of her improvements on diet, exercise, and follow-up appointments with her doctor. If you can’t help her stay on track and organized, call a senior care agency. Your mom can have senior care aides for encouragement to do her muscle-strengthening exercises, eat the right foods, and remember to take her medications.
If you or someone you know needs help with Senior Care in East Grand Rapids, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.