Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Nutritional and Bone Health in Seniors

On Wednesday, I was so blessed and honored to engaged in a session called “Soul of the Caregiver…Soul Session hosted by Pastor Tabathia.” She, along with Ms. Ruby are caring for family members in the home. The night of our caregiving chat on Facebook Live, and them returning home after the program, I received word that both of their family members had fallen.

This was my question: Ok ladies… So, after reading about the “fall” issues yesterday from both of you…it made me think... As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate…please share… the falls that occurred with your perspective family members…was there something that stood out that the falls could have been prevented? NOTE: This is not a question of pointing fingers. It is dialogue and another way of helping caregivers identify, avoid falls or potential falls.

Two things came to mind. First, bone health and the second was the kinds of shoes that are being worn. When I hear the word ‘slippers in the same sentence as our older populations, it is a red flag for me. We know, getting older can be a hard pill to swallow. Many seniors’ mindset is they are still 25, but we know their bodies and reflexes are far past that reality. Safety in the home environment or wherever the senior may be is so critical in the awareness of falling.

What About Bone Health in Older Populations?
We know nutritional is vital to bone health. As we age, we lose bone health. There is research that suggest women lose bone health faster than men, in-part due to hormonal(estrogen) depletion. The lack of weight-bearing exercise is another reason men and women lose bone health. When seniors fall, fractures are common; the hip being identified most often. Many foods have nutrients that promote bone health. You hear about calcium, vitamin D and magnesium as the health nutrients. Can you identify some foods? Green leafy vegetables (e.g., broccoli, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale) are calcium rich. Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight, however a good food source is salmon, a fatty fish and great source of vitamin D. Avocados and nuts are an exceptionally nutritive and wonderful source of magnesium.

Here Are A Few Nuggets That Will Help You Become Mindful of Falls

· Avoid flip flops and slide-in slippers.

· Socks and stockings, especially on wood floors should be avoided.

· Keep throw rugs out of walking spaces unless tacked to the floor.

· Grab bars around the house are helpful and for sure in bathrooms.

· If walking aids(walker/canes) are used, keep floors free for litter.

· Use night lights around the house.

· Repeated falls need to be evaluated by your doctor.

As your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I encourage you to always consider footwear, bone health, and nutrition.



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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.