Tips on Helping Older Adults Build Strong Bones & Muscles

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As adults get older, their bones lose calcium and other nutrients if not replenished. The spine may curve, and seniors often become shorter due to bone shrinkage. Bone density loss causes an increased likelihood of fractures. Likewise, muscle mass diminishes and the tissues grow weaker.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Des Moines elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.

Here are a few ways family members can ensure their aging loved ones maintain good bone and muscle health. 

Focus on Proper Nutrition

Seniors need 1,200 milligrams of calcium and up to 600 IUs of vitamin D each day to keep bones and muscles strong. A variety of foods ensure older adults naturally get the nutrients they need. Some of these food options include: 

  • Fortified cereals and juices – Certain breakfast cereals provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals without having an abundance of sugar. There are also fruit juices that include calcium and vitamin D. Read the labels to determine the best options. 
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy – An eight-ounce glass of milk or a container of yogurt provides 30 percent of a senior’s daily calcium requirements in addition to vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption. 
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish – Three ounces of salmon provides more than a daily dose of vitamin D, and tuna offers 39 percent of the daily recommended amount. In addition, oily fish provides omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for cardiovascular and cognitive health. 
  • Spinach and other leafy greens – One cup of cooked spinach provides 25 percent of a senior’s daily calcium needs. Spinach is also loaded with fiber and vitamin A, which are necessary for gastrointestinal and visual health.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your aging loved one needs help preparing nutritious meals. In Des Moines, in-home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Older men and women need up to 56 grams of protein daily, which accounts for up to 35 percent of daily intake. Protein builds and strengthens muscles while reducing fat. Excellent sources of protein include: 

  • Chicken, pork, lean red meat, and fish
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts

Encourage Exercise

Aerobic and strength training exercises are ideal for maintaining bone and muscle health. These activities also enhance cardiovascular health, balance, flexibility and cognitive function. Aerobic exercise is easily accomplished by going for regular walks or hikes as well as jogging or dancing. For seniors with joint issues, the buoyancy provided while swimming or taking a water aerobics class can also be beneficial. The resistance of the water is sufficient for building strong muscles and preventing bone loss. Traditional exercises include abdominal crunches, leg squats, pull-ups, and pushups. Exercises using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines all offer strength-training.

Caring for a senior loved one can be a difficult task, especially if he or she has preexisting health issues such as weak and brittle bones. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors who require extensive 24-hour care. Des Moines Home Care Assistance provides trusted caregivers 24/7 to ensure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. If you’re looking for a professionally trained caregiver for your elderly loved one, give us a call at (515) 264-2438 today.

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