How to Keep up With the Grandkids When You Have Osteoporosis
There’s nothing like the feeling of spending time with your grandchildren. Whether spending the day walking around the zoo or having a picnic, this time is precious. But when you have osteoporosis, you’re at greater risk of a bone fracture, which can interfere with your ability to keep up with the little ones. Here’s what you need to know to stay healthy while still enjoying time with the grandchildren.
First, know your osteoporosis basics
Each year, there are over 8.9 million bone fractures attributed to osteoporosis, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis is a gradual loss of bone density, but many people are unaware that they are at risk. As osteoporosis progresses, bones can become so fragile that they break under the slightest strain, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Here’s how to reduce your chances of breaking a bone when playing with the grandkids.
Wear the right shoes
When heading out with your grandchildren, make sure you’re wearing footwear that will reduce your risk of falling. Low-heeled shoes with rubber soles are best, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. These provide more traction and can help you keep your balance. Wearing boots with rubber soles in the winter can help you avoid falling on the snow and ice.
Pay attention to your diet
A nutritious diet that includes calcium and vitamin D is important to maintain the health of your bones, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. For women over 50 years old, they suggest 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day. For men, up to the age of 70, they recommend 1,000 mg. After that, it increases to 1,200 mg. Your body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, and the recommended daily intake is 600 mg for those under 70 years old and 800 mg for those over 70 years old.
Check your medications
There are some medications that can have side effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, and lightheadedness, which can increase your risk of falling, according to the NIH. These include muscle relaxers, sleep aids, diuretics, and medications for blood pressure or heart disease. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these types of side effects.
Clear your floors
Clutter, wires, and throw rugs on the floor put you at risk of tripping, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Remove wires, cords and throw rugs from your floor, especially before the grandkids come over. If you do have area rugs, make sure they have skid-proof backing. Avoid using wax on bare floors. Check the floors in public areas and take steps to protect yourself on highly waxed floors.
Exercise is key for bone health
Regular exercise helps build and maintain strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis and dancing. These types of exercises force you to work against gravity help maintain bone density, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Focus on balance
An exercise program that includes balance training may decrease your risk of falling. The International Osteoporosis Foundation reported that one study looked at patients who practiced tai chi, which is a Chinese exercise focused on balance, fell only half as many times as their peers.
If you do fall, fall forward
Keep areas well-lit
Keep a light on in your hallway, bathroom, and stairwells so if you need to get up during the night to check on a little one, you aren’t fumbling in the dark, suggests the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Have a light switch at the top and bottom of stairs and an easily accessible light near your bed. Keep a flashlight beside your bed in case the lights are not working.
Enjoy your life
Taking steps to strengthen your bones and prevent falls will keep you living an active and healthy life so you can spend time with your family and grandchildren. Incorporating these healthy practices into your daily routine will help you reduce your risk of falls and fractures.