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How Much Calcium Should Seniors Take?

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A senior man sitting in a kitchen and pouring milk in a glass

Calcium is an essential mineral that helps keep bones strong and can help prevent common health concerns for seniors, but different people need different amounts based on their age. The recommended daily calcium intake for seniors is 1,000–1,200 milligrams per day. 

Eating a balanced diet that includes calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, and fish can help seniors living at home and in independent living communities maintain their wellness. 

If you are unable to get enough calcium through your diet, you may need to take calcium supplements. It is important to talk to a doctor before taking any supplements, as calcium supplements can interact with other medications, and taking too much calcium can be harmful. 

Understanding Calcium & Its Benefits for Seniors

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, and it also helps our muscles and heart function properly. Older adults may need more calcium to address lower levels of calcium in their bones caused by a decrease in hormones that help regulate calcium absorption. 

The recommended daily intake of calcium for older adults can vary slightly based on age and personal health but generally includes the following recommendations:

  • 1,000–1,200 milligrams per day for adults 51–70
  • 1,200 milligrams per day for adults over 70

Some of the potential benefits of getting enough calcium for older adults include:

  • A lower risk of bone loss and fractures
  • Increased tooth and bone strength
  • A reduced risk of developing osteoporosis 
  • Improved muscle function to support joint health
  • Support for improved nerve transmission

What Can Seniors Eat to Get Enough Calcium?

When it comes to meeting calcium needs for seniors, a combination of calcium-rich foods and supplements, when necessary, can help older adults reach the right intake levels. 

Food Sources 

Some people can get enough calcium through a well-rounded diet. Seniors can incorporate the following calcium-rich foods into their meals:

  • Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Leafy greens like spinach and kale
  • Fish with edible bones, including sardines and salmon
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Fortified cereals and orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified plant-based beverages

Calcium Supplements 

In some cases, seniors may find it challenging to get enough calcium from their diet alone. In those situations, calcium supplements may be helpful. However, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements. They can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and assess potential interactions with medications or other dietary supplements.

Getting Personalized Guidance 

Each individual’s calcium requirements may vary based on factors such as age, personal health, and specific medical conditions. Seeking personalized advice from a healthcare provider or registered dietitian can be essential for determining the right amount of calcium to consume through food and potential supplementation.

Getting personalized nutrition guidance can also provide an opportunity to ask other questions you may have and get information about other interesting topics, like the foods that support heart health and whether the keto diet is healthy for older adults. 

Remember, while supplements can be a helpful addition, they should not replace a balanced diet rich in calcium-containing foods. Strive to incorporate a variety of calcium sources into your daily meals and discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare provider.

Factors that Influence Calcium Requirements for Seniors

Age, diet, and personal lifestyle are all factors that can affect calcium needs for individuals. As we age and our bodies undergo changes that can impact our calcium requirements, it can become crucial for seniors to understand each factor in order to maintain their bone health and overall wellness. 


Age can play a significant role in determining the amount of calcium seniors need. As we grow older, our bones can become weaker and our bodies can become less efficient at absorbing calcium from food. Consequently, seniors often require higher amounts of calcium to support bone health.

Dietary Choices 

People who avoid dairy products—such as those affected by lactose intolerance or those who avoid eating animal products—may be at a higher risk of experiencing calcium deficiency. For older adults who fall into those groups, it may be more important to eat alternative foods fortified with calcium or take calcium supplements.

It is essential for seniors to consult healthcare professionals or registered dietitians to determine their specific calcium requirements based on individual factors such as medical history, bone density, and overall health. These experts can provide personalized recommendations and guidance for meeting calcium needs through diet and lifestyle choices.

Prioritizing calcium intake through appropriate dietary choices and healthy habits can contribute to maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis in seniors.

A  senior man smiling while walking in a park.

Lifestyle Factors 

Certain lifestyle choices can influence our body’s ability to absorb and utilize calcium effectively. Regular exercise, including weight-bearing activities like walking or strength training, can promote bone health and aid in calcium absorption

On the other hand, smoking has been found to hinder calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, avoiding smoking is important for maintaining optimal calcium levels.

How The Villages of Farragut Can Help 

It is important for seniors to understand the importance of calcium and how much they should be taking. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, and it can also help reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. Factors such as age, personal health, and lifestyle can affect the amount of calcium a senior needs. 

Eating foods that are rich in calcium, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and fish, can help seniors meet their daily calcium requirements. Additionally, calcium supplements can be taken to help seniors get the right amount of calcium.

At The Villages of Farragut, we provide seniors with the resources and support they need to live healthy lives. We invite you to contact us and book a tour to learn more about our community. 

Written by Melody Matney

Melody is our Executive Director. She leads with a genuine and warm heart for families and seniors with a background of impressive leadership among her peers and colleagues. She was born in Knoxville, grew up in the Rocky Hill area, and is a life-long resident of East Tennessee.

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