If you’re the provider of senior care for someone you love, you may be familiar with the importance of vitamin D, but have you ever considered why?
Here are a few things you should know about vitamin D and seniors.
The Dangers of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium into the system, resulting in improved bone and muscle growth, a stronger immune system, and healthier teeth. It can be hard for seniors to get all the calcium they need, however, resulting in increased risk for several health problems:
- Osteoporosis — Without sufficient vitamin D, a person is at risk of osteoporosis. This condition can lead to weak muscles and bones, increasing the dangers associated with falling.
- A weakened immune system — Vitamin D is necessary for a strong immune system. A senior lacking in it is at a higher risk of common infections such as urinary tract infection (UTI), and even more deadly diseases such as the flu and COVID-19.
- Cognitive and emotional problems — Vitamin D plays a vital role in people’s ability to reason and control their emotions. If a senior isn’t getting adequate amounts of vitamin D, they’re more prone to suffering from cognitive issues as well as depression.
- Increased risk of non-infectious diseases — There are several types of non-infectious conditions that can result from a lack of vitamin D, ranging from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to different kinds of cancer.
Simple Ways to Increase Vitamin D in the System
As a loved one’s senior care provider, here are some things you can do to make sure they’re getting all the vitamin D they need:
- Greater sun exposure — Taking your senior loved one for a walk in the sun is great for both exercise and vitamin D absorption. Too much sun is risky, however, so monitor the time closely.
- Sun lamps — When it’s dark outside, sun lamps can do the work of the sun indoors. They can be hazardous if used irresponsibly, however, so check with your loved one’s doctor before proceeding.
- Diet — Incorporate vitamin D-rich foods into your loved one’s diet. These include salmon, tuna, dairy products like milk and cheese, and egg yolks. There are several brands of fruit juice that are fortified with vitamin D as well.
- Supplements — Vitamin D supplements are widely available. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
- Professional caregiving — A skilled caregiver can monitor your senior loved one to make sure they’re getting all the vitamin D they need to thrive.
To learn more about nutrition for seniors, or if you require assistance with your senior care needs, contact the professionals at Senior Care at Home of Oklahoma.