Interesting, women who are underweight and increase their protein intake by 25 grams per day can reduce their risk of hip fracture by 45% and women of average weight have a 14% lower risk! That’s incredible if you think about it! Take a look at what your female residents are consuming at mealtime. You may find, what I found with my own senior relatives, women tend to have a decreased taste for proteins as they age. Not sure what that means but in my experience it is true. Of course, I am always touting the benefits of eating more protein, decreased risk for skin breakdown and if there is breakdown, proteins help in the healing process. But fractures?
Women who are underweight may have reduced bone mineral density and muscle mass and increasing the intake of protein may help them to build or restore bone and muscle health. Remember, proteins are fundamental to keeping cells, tissues and muscles and bone healthy and working properly! It is sometimes helpful to encourage increasing proteins from other sources aside from meats. Many seniors have difficulty chewing meat and choose to avoid it however protein can come from many sources including dairy or eggs, beans, nuts, etc.
Now the exciting part! Regular coffee and tea drinking also were associated with reduced odds of hip fracture, now they are talking my language! Every additional cup of tea or coffee consumed per day was linked with a 4% reduction in risk of hip fractures. The RDA recommended dietary allowance for adults aged 50 years and older is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but you don’t have to do the math, the US Department of Agriculture’s website has a calculator for healthcare professionals to determine dietary needs based on BMI, height, weight, gender, etc. Talk to your Registered Dietitian and Medical Director. Take this information to your QAPI committee meeting and maybe grab a sample of a few female residents and use the calculator. Then of course, evaluate what they are consuming daily versus what is recommended. You may be surprised, maybe not, but why wait until that fracture happens! Stay informed and stay well!
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