Nutritional Deficiencies Often Experienced by Aging Adults

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Medication interactions, reduced appetite, and difficulty preparing meals are just a few reasons a senior may experience a nutritional deficiency. Those with digestive disorders may also be unable to properly absorb and convert important vitamins and minerals, even when they eat a well-balanced diet. As the human body ages, it sometimes fails to utilize vitamins and minerals as well as it once did, and there are some nutrients many seniors may be unknowingly lacking. Here are some of the most common nutritional deficiencies among aging adults.

Iron

Iron distributes oxygen throughout the body by way of red blood cells and contributes to a number of other metabolic processes. Iron deficiency often results in fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and even shortness of breath. Most often, iron deficiency in elderly people is related to significant blood loss. A typical method of obtaining sufficient iron in the body is through the consumption of red meat. As many seniors reduce the amount of red meat in their diets, over-the-counter iron supplements can correct this deficiency.

Some seniors have a difficult time shopping for groceries and preparing healthy meals, which can put them at greater risk for developing nutritional deficiencies. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Calcium

Calcium is the main building block of healthy bones, but calcium levels invariably decrease as the body ages. When a person doesn’t get the proper amount of calcium, osteoporosis, which causes brittle and weak bones, can occur as well as softening of the bones, ultimately increasing the risk of falls, fractures, and broken bones. Dairy foods, such as milk and cheese, remain excellent sources of calcium. For those on a dairy-free diet, many green vegetables provide a high amount of calcium, including kale, broccoli, bok choy, and collard greens. Fruits such as oranges and figs are also high in calcium.

Vitamin B12

A relatively small percentage (10 to 15 percent) of seniors are deficient in vitamin B12, but that figure still remains too high. Though the absorption rate of B12 doesn’t decrease with age, the amount the body uses does. A B12 deficiency can present a host of problems, including muscle weakness, unsteady gait, incontinence, and various mental issues. Growing evidence also shows a B12 deficiency in seniors with Alzheimer’s.

Shellfish, such as clams and crab, are excellent sources of B12. Other fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, also provide an adequate dose of B12. In addition, a discussion with a medical professional about B12 supplements can ensure the recommended dosage is met.

If your loved one has a nutritional deficiency due to cognitive decline associated with a condition such as Alzheimer’s, consider hiring a home caregiver to help. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors.

Vitamin D

Almost a third of the people in the United States have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D works with calcium to support the growth of healthy bones. In addition to osteoporosis, other effects of a vitamin D deficiency include a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and asthma as well as impaired cognitive function. Sunlight is the most common way to get vitamin D, but as the body ages, its ability to synthesize sunlight lessens. Dairy foods such as milk and eggs provide high levels of this important vitamin, as do many fish. Supplements can also be useful.

Helping older adlts get the vitamins they need can be challenging. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call 832-412-1345 today.