Can my elderly parent take calcium?

Your elderly parents should talk to their doctors about whether to take calcium supplements -- but they certainly need plenty of the nutrient. Adults ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day, and that rises to 1,200 mg a day for women older than 50. By age 71, both men and women should strive for 1,200 mg a day.

It's better for your elderly parents to get their calcium from food than from supplements. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt; tofu; dark green veggies like kale and broccoli; fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned salmon and sardines; and calcium-fortified orange juice.

If your elderly parents don’t get enough calcium in their diet, a supplement may be a good idea. However, supplements give some people gas, bloating and constipation. If this is a problem for either parent, suggest that he or she take no more than 500 mg at a time and have it with a meal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.