Can a Person Shrink in Height?
For some seniors, one of the effects of getting older is they can shrink in height. While this is not necessarily a sign of poor health, it is important to understand why it happens, and what can be done to keep older people’s bodies as strong as possible. If you have a loved one who is experiencing height loss as they age, there are ways you can help them maintain their spine and bone health.
Why Do Some Seniors Lose Height?
There are multiple reasons older people lose height as they age, including compression of the vertebrae or discs, curvature of the spine, and loss of bone density due to conditions such as osteoporosis. In addition, loss of torso muscle mass, and flattening of the feel can contribute to shorter heights. Metabolic changes in the body can also be the cause of a person’s height decreasing.
5 Ways Seniors Can Maintain Skeletal Health
Let’s look at 5 great ways a senior can keep their bones and spine as healthy as possible.
Preserve Bone Density
Simply put, the denser human bones are, the stronger they remain. A person’s bone density can be greatly affected by diet and exercise. Encourage your loved one to eat foods rich in calcium, such as leafy greens and seafood. Taking Vitamin D is also very helpful, as it aids in the body’s ability to absorb calcium into the bloodstream.
Keeping Spinal Discs Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water will help keep your loved one’s intervertebral disks hydrated, so they do not shrink. It’s also important to move regularly, up to one’s physical ability. This combination of adequate hydration and movement (which helps the disks absorb water) is a great way to minimize the potential for more serious back problems down the road.
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Maintain Muscle Mass
Moderate, regular exercise can help keep older muscles strong and toned. Any kind of resistance training will keep muscles healthier. Be sure your loved one is also getting plenty of quality protein in their diet, such as lean meats, cheese, or nuts. Protein is a key building block of maintaining strong muscles throughout the body.
Advise your loved one to focus on their posture when walking or sitting. Keeping one’s spine in proper alignment can reduce pain, and increase blood circulation. A good posture also contributes to stronger lung capacity, higher energy levels, and reduced joint wear.
Practice Good Health Habits in General
A healthy lifestyle is just as beneficial for the spine and skeleton as any other part of the body. Encourage your loved one not to smoke, eat healthfully, refrain from excessive alcohol use, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise as much as they can. A healthy diet will keep their bones and spine stronger and more flexible.
Helping Seniors with Shrinking Height as They Age
Most older people as they age will experience some loss of height. By helping your loved one preserve bone density, stay hydrated, maintain muscle mass, focus on a good posture, and eat a healthy diet, you will play a big part in their bone and spine health.
The compassionate and friendly staff at Frontier Senior Living helps our residents maintain physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful properties and take a tour.
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