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Older adults sometimes don’t get all the nutrition they need from the food they eat. When that happens, it may be helpful for them to take supplements. However, it can be difficult to know which supplements they need. The best way to find out is to talk to their doctor, but it can be helpful to go into the conversation with some information about supplements older adults often need.
What Are Supplements?
Dietary supplements are substances, like vitamins and minerals, that a person needs to add nutrients to their diet, or to reduce the risk of developing a health problem. They come in many different forms, including:
Supplements do not require prescriptions, but you should talk to the senior’s doctor before they take anything new. Some medications can interact with supplements. Make sure the doctor has an updated list of all the medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, so they can make an accurate determination of whether a supplement is alright for the older adult to take.
Which Supplements Should Seniors Take?
Although eating a variety of healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, is the best way for your aging relative to get all the nutrients they need, sometimes supplements are necessary. Some common supplements that older adults need are:
Calcium: As people age, they start to lose more calcium than they take in. This is especially true for women. A lack of calcium contributes to bones becoming thinner and weaker, which makes them break more easily. Some foods that contain calcium are milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium. Older adults can get vitamin D by sitting in the sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes per week. Vitamin D is also found in fortified foods, like cereals, milk, and juice.
Vitamin B12: Being deficient in vitamin B12 has been associated with an increased risk of dementia. Age-related changes make it harder for the body to absorb B12 from food after the age of 50. Because of this, older adults often need to take B12 as a supplement.
Protein: At around age 70, older adults lose much of their ability to increase muscle mass. The need for protein increases for seniors as they age, but they may have a harder time getting it through their diet because of appetite loss or other issues. The doctor may recommend using a protein supplement, such as a powder that is added to foods or beverages or commercially available protein drinks.
Senior care can help your older family member to get enough nutrients to keep them healthier. Senior care providers can plan and prepare balanced meals comprised of a variety of foods. If the older adult is taking supplements, a senior care provider can remind them when it is time for them to take supplements and other medications.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Springdale, SC, please talk to our caring staff. Call today (803) 223-6173.