- Falls cause the majority of hospitalizations for seniors.
- Protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass which improves strength and balance.
- Calcium and vitamin D are vital for bone health.
- Proper hydration can impact muscle function and balance.
- Resistance training can help build muscle strength.
- Balance and stability exercises can help improve equilibrium.
- Invest in a stair lift.
Welcome to the very first Advantage Home Health Solutions blog for 2024! On behalf of our entire team, we hope that you had a very joyous holiday break and that this New Year has gotten off to an excellent start. We also hope that 2024 has many wondrous moments in store for you. May it be your happiest – and safest – year to date!
Of course, at Advantage Home Health Solutions, we’re pretty focused on safety. Regularly addressing the needs of the older adults in our community, our team is adamant about keeping seniors safe all year round. A major reason is because falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Falls cause the majority of hospitalizations for seniors.
As reported by Age Safe Canada, “more than half the injury-related hospitalizations in Canada are for seniors 65+ and the leading cause of injury in seniors is falls, accounting for more than 81% of hospitalizations…It is estimated that 20-30% of seniors experience at least one fall each year…Of those that fall, close to 20% will die within a year of the fall meaning falls are the number reason for injury-related death for seniors in Canada.”
The way we see it, safety always starts at home. It is incumbent upon each individual to maintain his/her strength and balance. Doing so becomes increasingly important for our overall health and well-being, the older we get. In order to bolster strength and balance, older adults should both focus on nutrition and incorporate specific exercises into their routine.
Protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass which improves strength and balance.
Understandably, many athletes and body builders incorporate protein shakes into their diets. Because muscle mass is crucial for strength, older adults are encouraged to find good sources of protein in each of their meals. Lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts should be commonplace. In fact, even a handful of almonds can help seniors meet their daily protein needs.
“If unable to consume 25–30 g of high-quality protein at each meal, try three meals with 2-3 snacks and include high-quality protein foods with every meal and snack,” recommends Alberta Health Services, “Eat high-quality protein foods such as cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, milk, fortified soy beverage, meat, poultry, fish, yogurt and soybeans.”
Calcium and vitamin D are vital for bone health.
The strength of one’s bones is closely linked to balance and stability. Seniors should include calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens and fortified foods in their diets. Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, can be obtained through sunlight exposure and foods like fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified cereals.
“People who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D throughout life have an increased chance of having thin and brittle bones (osteoporosis) in their later years,” warns HealthLink BC, “Thin and brittle bones break easily and can lead to serious injuries. This is why it is important for you to get enough calcium and vitamin D as a child and as an adult. It helps keep your bones strong as you get older and protects against possible breaks.”
Proper hydration can impact muscle function and balance.
As should be common knowledge, drinking plenty of water is necessary for optimizing our overall health. As a result, staying hydrated is an important step in maintaining muscle function and balance. Seniors should aim to drink six to eight glasses of water throughout the day. Also, it’s wise to limit the intake of sugary drinks and alcohol as they can dehydrate the body.
“Dehydration is of major concern for seniors, especially those over the age of 85 years and those who are institutionalized,” says Alberta Health Services. Among the reasons is the fact that dehydration can result in delirium. “Delirium is an acute change in cognition and attention which can last from hours to days with disorganized thinking and/or altered level of consciousness that can fluctuate throughout the day,” they inform.
Resistance training can help build muscle strength.
By incorporating resistance training into their daily routines, seniors can build muscle and improve their overall physical function. We’re not recommending any heavy weightlifting, mind you. Instead, we suggest the use of resistance bands and light free weights. Starting with light weights and gradually increasing intensity can help seniors safely build strength over time. As well, it’s wise to engage in such bodyweight exercises as squats, lunges and push-ups.
Lifeline Canada highly recommends dumbbells and resistance band training for older adults. Their website offers guides for both, highlighting their benefits. “Your muscles become stronger as they experience tension,” it informs, “Working out with dumbbell weights and resistance bands puts your muscles under stress, allowing them to rebuild through and become stronger.”
Balance and stability exercises can help improve equilibrium.
The name of the game is fall prevention, right? To reduce the risk of falls, seniors are encouraged to engage in such activities as tai chi and yoga. Even simple balance exercises like standing on one leg or walking heel to toe can be beneficial. These exercises not only improve physical balance but also promote mental focus and relaxation.
MyHealth.Alberta.ca notes that aerobic exercises increase the flow of oxygen to your muscles, allowing them to work longer. Among its moderate activity recommendations are walking, low-impact aerobic dancing, jogging on a small trampoline and light to moderate calisthenics (for example, home exercises, back exercises, getting up and down from the floor).
Invest in a stair lift.
When strength and balance are issues, fall prevention becomes paramount. At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we proudly offer top-of-the-line stair lifts to ensure that a fall down the stairs never happens in your home. We also provide stair lift rentals for short term solutions. In addition, we have qualified stair lift technicians to safely install your stair lift and to service it for you when needed.
Our team always ensures that you have the complete picture of our stair lift solutions. No matter what your stair lift requirements are, you will be able to choose which stair lift is best for you. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!