As we age, we can experience blurred vision, loss of balance, shakiness, and muscle atrophy. That means we become more vulnerable to falling down and suffering injury or even death.
In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 734,000 of these patients were hospitalizer, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- One out of three older adults (those aged 65 or older) falls each year1 but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it.
- Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
- In 2012, the direct medical costs of falls, adjusted for inflation, were $30 billion.
One of the most common places where senior citizens experience falls is in their own home. There are things you can do to make your home less hazardous, such as installing thick carpeting in place of wood floors and installing handrails in hallways and bathrooms. Add nightlights and bright overhead lighting to aid your ability to see clearly what’s ahead and what’s beneath you. Be especially careful around stairs. Ideally, your retirement home should have no stairs to navigate.
How You Can Prevent Your
Bones from Going Brittle
Another thing you can do is strengthen your bones. Regular exercise and a nutrient-rich diet can help.
The demographic segment most at risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis is white women over age 65. The findings of the Women’s Health Initiative Study suggest that post-menopausal women can significantly reduce their risk of hip fractures by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. Specifically, 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate daily and between 400 IU and 1,000 IU of vitamin D. Researchers concluded that women who take these supplements for at least five years are 38% less likely to fracture their hip.
Milk May Not Do Your Body Good After All
Milk contains vitamin D and calcium. Therefore, it ought to help make your bones strong. But does it?
We’ve certainly been told that it does. The dairy industry has launched national advertising campaigns telling us that milk “does a body good.” For decades, the government has advised us to drink milk as part of a balanced diet. School districts have forced milk on hapless public school students, often giving them no other beverage choices at lunch.
However, it turns out that milk doesn’t deliver on many of its supposed health benefits. A new study in the British Medical Journal found that milk consumption actually increased – not decreased – the risk of bone fracture. Women who drank three or more glasses of milk per day were 60% likelier to suffer a hip fracture than women who drank less than one glass of milk per day.
Worse, the study’s authors discovered that regular milk drinkers were likely to die earlier than people who drank little or no milk. Women who consumed at least three glass of milk daily were 90% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and had a 44% greater risk of succumbing to some form of cancer.
The underlying problem with milk, despite being packed with nutrients, may be that our bodies have difficulty processing lactose. Yogurt may be a much healthier option than milk. Yogurt contains much less lactose than milk, and it’s made with Lactobaccillus bacteria, which consume lactose and converts it into lactic acid.
When It’s Okay to Take Vitamin K
You don’t hear much about vitamin K. It is, however, an important nutrient. Particularly for the elderly. Vitamin K helps fortify your tissue and bones, and research indicates that it can fight osteoporosis. It also plays a big part in the formation and control of blood clots. A shortage of vitamin K may be indicated by nosebleeds and internal bleeding
Leafy green vegetables, celery, egg yolks, bacon, liver, green tea, and coffee are potential sources of vitamin K. You can also take it in supplement form, but it should only be taken in recommended doses. Unlike vitamin C, which can safely be taken in multiples of the Recommended Daily Allowance, vitamin K is harmful when taken in excess. It can cause anemia in extreme cases.