How to Help Seniors Counteract Muscle Loss

By , 9:00 am on

Elderly people are at risk for developing muscle loss as a result of medical conditions, sedentary lifestyles, and medication side effects. Muscle loss can cause pain and mobility issues and raise the risk for falls. Fortunately, there are some things you can do for your aging parent to reverse muscle loss.

Increase Protein Intake

If your loved one has muscle loss, incorporating protein-rich foods into daily meal plans may reverse it. Protein is an important building block in the development of healthy muscle tissue, and when diets are deficient in protein, muscle loss and wasting may develop. Although increasing dietary protein may reverse the muscle loss, talk to your parent’s physician before encouraging a high-protein diet. Consuming large amounts of protein may cause health problems if your loved one has been diagnosed with renal disease.

A trained professional caregiver can prepare meals that meet your loved one’s specific nutritional needs. Though you may be researching multiple agencies that provide elder care, Fairfield, CT, Home Care Assistance has much to offer your family and your elderly loved one. We are leaders in the senior home care industry, offering proprietary programs like our holistic Balanced Care Method and around-the-clock assistance from reliable, experienced caregivers. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your loved one enjoy a happier and healthier life in the golden years.

Encourage Exercise

Exercise is beneficial for aging adults with muscle loss. It can reverse muscle loss and strengthen the surrounding tissues of the muscles, which increases mobility and range of motion. Encourage your loved one to take a walk after eating to counteract the effects of muscle loss. Before your parent starts a new exercise program, make sure to discuss it with his or her physician to make sure your loved one is healthy enough to increase activity. 

Seniors with mobility limitations or health conditions may find it difficult to exercise on their own. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Fairfield live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.

Monitor Statin Use

If your parent has high cholesterol that has been unresponsive to diet, weight loss, and exercise, his or her physician may have prescribed statin medications. While statins are effective in lowering total cholesterol levels and increasing high-density lipoproteins, they can cause significant side effects. Two of the most severe side effects of statin medication are muscle loss and severe muscle pain. If your parent develops muscle loss, pain, or limited mobility, see the doctor right away to order blood tests and determine if your loved one has a serious muscle condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which can cause muscle damage. However, when the statin drugs are discontinued and proper treatment has been implemented, muscle loss may be reversed. To further reverse statin-related muscle loss, encourage mild exercise and offer foods rich in vitamin D.

Promote Collagen Formation with Vitamin C

Many seniors are deficient in vitamin C, which is one of the most important nutrients for optimal collagen formation and healthy muscles. If your parent has a muscle-wasting illness or has been immobile for a long time, he or she may have severe muscle problems. To reverse muscle loss, encourage eating more vitamin C–rich foods, such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, spinach, and broccoli. If digestive issues prevent your loved one from eating these foods, talk to his or her healthcare provider about vitamin C supplements. While vitamin C can promote healthy muscles, megadoses should be avoided. If your loved one takes too much, he or she may experience abdominal cramping, epigastric pain, and diarrhea. Another added benefit of increasing vitamin C consumption is that it promotes wound healing, which is especially important if your loved one has deep pressure sores that have damaged underlying muscle tissue.

Muscle loss is one of many conditions seniors need to be aware of so they can make lifestyle choices that promote optimal health. 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 manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Fairfield families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance today at 203-955-1915 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.