Fractures—particularly hip fractures—are one of the most well-known problems seniors face. As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to bone-related injuries. If you're taking care of an elderly parent, you've likely already 'parent-proofed' your home to eliminate obstacles that could cause your parent to trip or fall. However, many carers neglect to also tackle the other potential causes of bone fractures.
Cook Healthy Meals
One common cause of bone fractures in the hips and lower extremities is obesity. Obesity can put a lot of strain on bones, leading them to crack under the pressure. As seniors lose their mobility, they find it increasingly difficult to exercise, which can lead to obesity. This problem can't always be combatted, but you can deal with the diet aspect of obesity by preparing healthy meals for your parent. In particular, there are 3 things your parent needs to get in their diet to promote bone health: protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Protein is found in animal produce like eggs, yogurt, and meat, as well as non-animal foods like nuts and dairy. Calcium-rich foods include milk, broccoli, tofu, kale and sardines. As for vitamin D, you can get it into your parent's diet by cooking meals containing fatty fish, cheese, and liver.
Visit Your Family Doctor
Sometimes bone fractures are the result of a common condition affecting seniors: osteoporosis. Osteoporosis gradually makes the bones weaker, which can lead them to break or crack. Bone weakening and loss is common in old age, but it can be exacerbated by other factors like long-term use of arthritis painkillers and other medical conditions seniors face. It's important to take your parent to see your family doctor on a regular basis so problems with bones can be caught early before they lead to a serious fracture or break.
Escort Your Parent
From doctor's appointments to shopping trips, it's good for seniors to get out and about as much as they can. Being outdoors can improve both health and well-being. However, it's difficult for many seniors to be on their feet all day, so driving is necessary for long trips. Of course, one of the most common causes of fractures is blunt force trauma, which can occur during a car crash. Seniors tend to be more likely to crash a car because of age-related problems like loss of eyesight and disorientation or confusion. As a result, it's a good idea to escort your parent on long trips, driving for them to ensure they're safe.
If you struggle to find time to cook nutrient-rich meals and drive your parent to appointments, consider in-home health care. A home carer can help you handle the workload involved in taking care of your mother or father while allowing them to remain in the comfort of their home.