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Common Senior Vitamin Deficiencies and How to Combat Them

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

As seniors age, it becomes more difficult for their bodies to absorb and utilize vitamins as efficiently as they once did. Combined with health conditions that make it difficult to prepare healthy meals or go outside, it can be easy for some seniors to develop deficiencies. To help your senior loved one stay healthy, Warren home care experts recommend paying special attention to these vitamins and make sure he or she is getting the necessary amounts suggested by a doctor.

Vitamin D

It is estimated over 74 percent of the senior population in the United States has a vitamin D deficiency. One of the reasons for this is the fact many seniors spend less time in the sun, which increases the risk of bone loss, fractures, muscle weakness, reduced immune function, and a variety of other issues. In order to combat this deficiency, your loved one either needs to increase the amount of time he or she spends outside or begin taking a supplement that includes vitamin D.

Calcium

A vitamin D deficiency increases your loved one’s risk of osteoporosis and other bone diseases because it is needed to digest calcium and transport it to the bones. Even seniors who consume a large amount of calcium might still have a deficiency simply because their bodies cannot process this nutrient. This is why many doctors recommend seniors who have a deficiency in either of these substances take supplements for both.

Vitamin B12

As we grow older, our gastrointestinal tracts are no longer efficient at absorbing vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. This is especially true of vitamin B12, a fat-soluble substance that requires multiple amino acids to be properly metabolized. When left untreated, a vitamin B12 deficiency can reduce your loved one’s brain function while increasing his or her risk of fractures. B12 supplements can be taken to ensure this does not occur.

Folic Acid

Also called folate, folic acid is another vitamin in the B complex family that can be found in a variety of foods such as fortified cereals and leafy greens. Many seniors have a deficiency in this substance due to a static diet not centered on fresh produce and whole grains. For the vast majority of seniors, making some changes to the diet to include foods such as asparagus, broccoli, beets, lentils, and peas can easily treat a minor folic acid deficiency.

Managing a healthy diet can be challenging for some seniors because everyday tasks like grocery shopping and cooking can become more difficult to accomplish with age. If your loved one could use additional support with these tasks, turn to Home Care Assistance. In addition to assistance with meal prep, grocery shopping, and other tasks, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care Warren seniors and their families can rely on. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.