Technically considered a hormone because it can be produced in the skin through sunlight exposure, vitamin D offers an assortment of health benefits for seniors. One of the lesser-known ones is the ability to help with recovery from a hip fracture. Here’s what you need to know about the role vitamin D can play in hip fracture recovery for an older loved one.
Vitamin D May Help with Post-Fracture Mobility
According to the CDC, more than 300,000 adults 65 and older are hospitalized each year for hip fractures, and the recovery process isn’t easy. However, a Rutgers University study suggests seniors who aren’t deficient in vitamin D are more likely to be able to successfully regain mobility after recovering from hip fractures.
If your loved one’s vitamin D levels are below normal, he or she may benefit from a recovery diet that includes the following vitamin D-rich foods:
- Egg yolks
- Salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish
- Fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal
- Beef liver
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional homecare. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Vitamin D Can Strengthen the Immune System
Seniors naturally have weaker immune systems due to age-related changes. After surgery for something like a hip fracture, extra demands are placed on the immune system to help with the healing and recovery process. Vitamin D plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system, which can minimize issues with infections, especially around incision sites, that sometimes develop while the body is healing.
A professional caregiver can watch for complications, including infections, while your parent recovers from an injury. The type of elder care Richmond, VA, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
Vitamin D Helps with Bone Strengthening during Recovery
Seniors are susceptible to fractures because of the natural reduction in bone density that occurs with age. In fact, this is one of the reasons older adults are more likely to experience hip fractures than people in other age groups.
During the fracture recovery process, bones are healing and regaining strength, and they require supportive nutrients such as calcium. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, which may result in a boost in bone strength as a hip fracture heals.
Vitamin D May Reduce the Risk of Falling Post-Fracture
A report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society notes older women taking both vitamin D and calcium supplements may reduce their fall risk by nearly 50 percent. This is important because seniors need to be especially careful about falling while recovering from hip fractures. If your loved one isn’t already taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, ask the doctor if this may be an appropriate step to take to reduce post-fracture fall risks.
Vitamin D May Increase the Strength of Hip-Supporting Muscles
The National Institutes of Health cites several observational studies that associate vitamin D with increased muscle strength, which can be beneficial for seniors recovering from hip fractures because supporting muscles ease stress placed directly on hips and nearby structures. If these muscles, which include the hamstrings, are stronger, a healing hip won’t have as much stress placed on it as mobility is regained.
Aging adults with hip fractures may need around-the-clock care while they heal at home. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Richmond, VA, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (804) 207-4746.