Seniors learn about bone loss

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

For osteoporosis month, senior citizens learned about protecting their bones at a seminar Monday at the Picayune Senior Center.

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones weaker and more prone to fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Pearl River County Extension Agent Dawn Vosbein with Mississippi State University, said people can evaluate their risk for osteoporosis and reduce risk factors within their control. Risk factors include physical inactivity, having a low calcium diet, smoking, under eating, and drinking alcohol, Vosbein said.

One in two women and one in four men will be affected by osteoporosis, Vosbein said. Most of the medical cost of osteoporosis goes toward fixing hip fractures, she said, and overall the disease costs $17 billion annually.

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To prevent the disease, people of any age should ensure they get plenty of calcium and vitamin D, Vosbein said. Vitamin D can come from just 15 minutes of sun exposure a week, she said, and can also be taken as a supplement. Vosbein suggested checking in on friends who spend all their time at home, and making sure they get outside. Dairy is an excellent source of calcium, she said, although Lactaid and soy fortified with calcium and vitamin D are good alternatives.

Exercises that focus on posture and balance can also protect bones, while weight lifting can prevent bone loss, Vosbein said.

Eskeletha Dorsey and Beverly Abram came from Poplarville to attend the seminar, because speakers are not featured at the senior center in their area, Abram said. Dorsey said she learned good tips for increasing her calcium intake, such as making her oatmeal with milk instead of water.

Charles Cou said he loves the presentations, but he does not think he’ll apply the information he gathered from Monday’s at this time.

The center’s receptionist Ernestine Pickens said the seminars are educational, and the audience usually asks good questions. Pickens said previous presentations covered topics such as mold and also phone scams that target seniors.

Participation coordinator Kathleen Penton said the center has seminars on Mondays and they ask volunteer speakers to discuss topics that relate to seniors. Penton said the center also hosts activities like bingo and ceramics classes.