Though people can develop spine disorders at any age, these conditions can be especially challenging to diagnose and manage past age 65. The related aches and pains are often mistaken for other ailments, and certain age-related conditions can make it difficult for some seniors to take the necessary steps to protect their spines. Mississauga caregivers suggest a few ways your elderly loved one can maintain a healthy spine later in life.
1. Prevent Fractures
Spine fractures, often referred to as compression fractures, make it difficult to walk, stand, bend, or twist the body and are common in older men and women with osteoporosis. Your loved one can prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of spine fractures by consuming more protein, calcium, and vitamin D, limiting soft drink consumption, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, and staying physically active.
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
Aging may cause your loved one’s sleeping patterns to change, but he or she needs to maintain good sleep hygiene to maintain a healthy spine. Getting 8 hours of sleep per night can help the body repair itself and stay strong. It is also a good idea for your loved one to sleep on his or her side because sleeping on the stomach puts too much pressure on the spine. Flip and turn your loved one’s mattress on a regular basis to help it wear evenly and increase his or her chances of a better night’s sleep.
3. Stay Hydrated
To maintain fluidity in the joints and soft tissue elasticity, your loved one should drink plenty of water and fluids. When seniors become dehydrated, their spinal discs become vulnerable and can lose height. The more your loved one’s discs shrink, the more pain he or she is likely to experience, and the risk of ruptures and bulging may also be higher. However, by staying hydrated, your loved one can maintain optimum spine health.
4. Lift Carefully
The way your loved one lifts everyday items can cause damage to his or her spine. Encourage your loved one to use his or her lower body strength when moving small objects. For larger objects, your loved one should wait until someone else is around to help with the lifting. It is also important to keep the back straight when lifting and sitting to prevent the body from twisting and damaging the spine.
5. Seek Help from a Doctor
Many seniors ignore the warning signs of an unhealthy spine instead of getting help before the situation becomes worse. Older adults commonly experience back pain, but this pain can also be an indication of serious spine disorders. If your loved one is experiencing any sort of back pain, he or she should speak with a doctor immediately to determine if it is an issue with the spine and receive the correct treatment for the symptoms.
To learn more about senior health and wellness, reach out to the elder care experts at Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers can provide transportation to medical appointments, assist with mobility and exercise, and help with many important everyday tasks. For more information on the senior home care Mississauga, ON, families trust, call (905) 337-1200 today.