Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth among all ages. Almost every cell in your body needs calcium in order to function properly such as your heart, nerves and muscles. 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth.
If you’re not getting enough calcium from what you eat, your cells will take it from your bones – making them less dense, more fragile and more prone to osteoporosis.
Taking care that residents in long-term care eat calcium rich foods is one of the key ways to ensure that they are getting enough calcium to guard against fractures and osteoporosis.
The Bottom Line About Calcium for Long Term Care
- Calcium is an important component of a fracture prevention program.
- Residents (older than 50 years of age) need 1200 mg of calcium daily from diet.
- Calcium is best obtained through food.
- Residents can take elemental calcium supplements starting at 500 mg if they are unable to consume enough calcium through their diet.
- Calcium supplements are digested more easily when taken with a glass of water and in the form of calcium citrate.
More about Calcium for Long-Term Care
DIET is BEST
3 Common dietary sources of calcium are:
- 400 mg in 1 cup calcium enriched milk
- 300 mg in 1 cup of milk
- 332 mg in ¾ cup of yogurt
Our key recommendations…
Our key recommendations for improved osteoporosis and fracture prevention outcomes in older adults at risk for osteoporosis and fractures:
- Older adults should take 1000-2000 IU of Vitamin D3 supplements daily.
- Older adults should eat foods rich in calcium and consume an equivalent of 1200mg of calcium daily from their diet.
- Older adults unable to consume sufficient amounts of calcium from their diet, should take a maximum of 500mg of elemental calcium supplements daily.
- Older adults who have osteoporosis, have had a previous fracture or are at high risk of sustaining a fracture from a fall should consider being treated with osteoporosis medications.
- Older adults who have osteoporosis, have had a previous fracture or are at high risk of sustaining a fracture from a fall AND who are mobile, who cannot safely self-transfer, have fallen, and wander due to dementia should wear hip protectors.
- Older adults should participate in weight bearing cardiovascular exercise, muscle strengthening, and exercises that challenge balance.