Around 10 million U.S. adults have osteoporosis. About 44 million have low bone density and are at risk of developing osteoporosis, more so women than men. Low bone density is a problem as it increases the odds of breaking a bone during a fall. With osteoporosis, the bones are thin and even more likely to break during a fall or when bumping a hard surface, such as a table. How can you tell if your mom’s bones are thinning? How can home care help your senior avoid a dangerous fall?
Early Signs of Osteoporosis
Some of the earliest signs of osteoporosis are receding gums, brittle nails, and poor grip. If your mom is having a hard time gripping items and holding onto them, it could be a sign that her bones are weakening.
When your mom sees her dentist, see if the gum space is growing as her jaw bone thins. The dental hygienist measures the pocket of space between the tooth and gum. That can help determine if her gums are receding faster than they used to. Dental X-rays are also helpful.
It’s a good time to have your mom see her doctor and have her bone density measured. It’s an easy test that involves an X-ray of some of the bones in her body. It won’t hurt her at all, so there’s no reason for her to avoid this test.
Signs of Advancing Osteoporosis
What are the signs of advancing osteoporosis? To tell if your mom’s bones are thin and osteoporosis is happening, one of the biggest signs is that her height is shrinking. She may experience backaches, too. These changes happen because the vertebrae in her spine are compressing.
You may notice that your mom is no longer standing straight. When she walks, she’s hunched over. She may complain of neck pain if she tries to stand straight.
Another sign is the one you want to avoid. Your mom fell and fractured a bone. Whether it’s an arm, leg, or hip fracture, it’s important to talk to her doctor and determine if osteoporosis is present. If so, it’s time to talk about medications, diet, and other treatment plans for osteoporosis.
Hire Home Care to Help With Housework and Ambulation
Home care services are essential if your mom’s bones are thinning. She must avoid falling, and that means keeping her from participating in activities or tasks that increase her fall risk.
Hire home care to make the bed, do the laundry, and help her get in and out of the shower. She can also have caregivers join her on walks around the yard or neighborhood. Call a home care agency to learn more about these services.