6 Ways to Boost Back Health in the Senior Years

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Many people experience back pain, but for seniors it can be a chronic issue that disrupts their lives. As a matter of fact, back pain is one of the top reasons people over the age of 50 go to the doctor. Not taking good care of this important part of the body can lead to increased pain, limited mobility, a higher risk of falling, and the loss of independence. If your senior loved one is concerned about potential poor back health, here are six things he or she can do to prepare for the future. 

1. Eliminate Stress 

Stress can take a serious toll on the body, which leads to tighter and tenser muscles and accentuated pain, particularly in the back area. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand with back issues. One way your loved one can maintain a healthy back is by getting rid of some of the stress in his or her life. Relaxing hobbies, meditation, religious services, therapy, support groups, exercise, and spending time with friends and family are all great ways to relieve stress. 

Eliminating stress is one of the best ways to boost overall health. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Rhode Island home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

2. Keep the Core Strong 

The core of the body is essentially the midsection, which includes the abdominal and lower back muscles. If the core isn’t strong, it can lead to back issues. Seniors lose muscle tone with age, and the core is one of the first areas to become weak if it doesn’t receive enough exercise. Your loved one should look into exercise programs for seniors that include core strengthening workouts. Swimming, yoga, and dancing also work this part of the body. 

3. Sleep Comfortably

If you’ve ever slept on a bad mattress or pillow, you know just one night can be painful for the back. Many seniors sleep on mattresses they’ve had for years because they can’t afford new ones or they don’t want to make the change. If your loved one’s mattress is older than 10 years, take him or her shopping to get a new one. Have your loved one test them out, and look for a mattress with a return policy in case it proves to be uncomfortable. If your loved one’s pillows are causing discomfort, replace those as well. 

4. Buy New Shoes 

Whether your loved one is exercising or just walking around the grocery store, comfortable shoes are a must for good back health. The feet are essentially the body’s base, and poor support can lead to pain throughout the rest of the body. Take your loved one shoe shopping, and make sure he or she tries on each pair before buying. You can also consider having custom shoes made. Supportive shoes should be snug but not tight, especially around the heel. Adding orthotics or insoles can also boost back health. 

5. Lose Weight 

If your loved one is overweight or obese, the excess weight may put too much pressure on the joints and back. Losing weight can alleviate the pressure, which typically results in less pain and fewer long-term issues with back pain and mobility. Eating a healthy diet and exercising are some of the best ways to lose weight, but if your loved one is having difficulty cutting calories or junk food, talk to the doctor or a nutritionist about ways to make changes. 

Some older adults require assistance with managing a healthy diet and exercise routine. Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need a break from your caregiving duties, the Rhode Island respite care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our respite care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.

6. Stay Active

Once seniors become sedentary, they tend to lose muscle mass, bone density, and range of motion. It happens quickly, and it can be difficult to build it back up, which leads to mobility issues, pain, more potential for falls and injuries, and sometimes a loss of independence. Staying active keeps the body strong, including the back. Staying active doesn’t just mean exercising rigorously. It means finding ways to move throughout the day, whether it’s cleaning the house, walking the dog, gardening, shopping, or playing with the grandchildren.

In Rhode Island, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call us at (401) 284-0979 to create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one.

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