Fatigue, lack of energy, aches and pains…are these all a normal part of aging that we simply have to accept? Or could these symptoms be reduced or even alleviated altogether through the use of vitamins for seniors?
Although nothing takes the place of a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise, for older adults whose nutrient requirements aren’t being met through diet, vitamin supplements can make a world of difference in overall wellbeing. But one glance at the rows and rows of alphabetically arranged bottles of vitamins, minerals, natural supplements, and self-proclaimed “miracle cures” can be bewildering.
What Are the Best Vitamins for Seniors?
The compassionate in-home care team at Heaven at Home Senior Care understands that the choices around which vitamins, minerals and supplements provide the greatest benefits for older adults can feel overwhelming. The following are some of the top recommendations:
- Multivitamins. A daily multivitamin specifically labeled as beneficial for those age 50+ is formulated to contain the right balance for most older adults.
- B12. Vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining healthy neurological function and red blood cell development, and can be difficult for older adults to absorb naturally through foods. B12 deficiencies can result in fatigue, weakness, anemia and more.
- Calcium. The jury is still out on how effective calcium supplements are for overall bone health, but research has shown it to reduce vertebrae fractures.
- D. Calcium can only be absorbed in conjunction with vitamin D, which also helps protect against heart attack, stroke, and other conditions. Vitamin D deficiencies are also linked to diabetes, arthritis, asthma, depression, and more.
- AREDS. This formulation of C, E, lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin has shown promising results in reducing the risk of cataracts and slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. An ophthalmologist should be consulted for a recommendation on which formula to choose.
It’s important to note that prior to adding any over the counter supplements to an older adult’s diet, a physician should be consulted.
What to Keep in Mind When Taking Vitamins
Adding vitamins to an older loved one’s diet can provide a number of benefits, but there are still a few precautions to keep in mind.
- Less is sometimes more. Although vitamins can contribute towards overall senior health, moderation is key. Be mindful of the recommended daily allowance for each vitamin or mineral, and remember that vitamins are meant to supplement deficiencies in a senior’s diet. So, if an older adult enjoys a diet that happens to be rich in calcium, be sure not to overload them with calcium supplements. Aim to fill most vitamin and mineral needs through fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy diet options.
- Medication interactions. Many older adults take three or more prescription medications regularly. It is important to discuss all medications with the senior’s physician – both prescription and non-prescription, to be sure there isn’t a potential for adverse reactions. Additionally, sometimes vitamins, minerals or supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of a prescription medication.
- Conduct research. Because there are so many choices when it comes to vitamin and mineral supplements for older adults, it’s important to conduct a little research in order to make safe choices. Look for seals from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) or NSF International on the labels. Manufacturers voluntarily submit to have their products tested by these organizations.
For more tips on helping an older loved one maintain overall health, reach out to Heaven at Home Senior Care, one of the top-rated home health agencies in Denton, TX and nearby areas. Our senior in home caregivers are experts in helping older adults maintain healthy eating habits and engaging in regular physician-approved exercise. Our award-winning in-home care services include everything from assistance with grocery shopping and meal preparation to engaging conversation and light housekeeping. To learn more about all of the ways our in-home care services help older adults maintain an active, healthy and engaged lifestyle, contact us online or call 866-381-0500 to learn more!