Everyone knows you’re supposed to have high levels of vitamin D in your system as you get older, but have you ever wondered why?
If you’re the provider of senior care for a loved one, here are some important things you should know about vitamin D.
The Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D assists the body in the absorption of calcium, leading to better bone and muscle growth, as well as healthier teeth and a strong immune system. Unfortunately, many seniors don’t get all the vitamin D they should, leading to the following health concerns:
- Weak muscles and fragile bones — People lacking sufficient vitamin D levels are at risk of osteoporosis. This disease weakens the bones, making falls far more dangerous and leads to other potentially hazardous health conditions.
- A weaker immune system — Vitamin D is an immunity booster. Without it, a senior is more vulnerable to common infections such as UTI (urinary tract infection), as well as more deadly diseases such as the flu and COVID-19.
- Cognitive and emotional issues — Vitamin D assists people with controlling their thoughts and emotions. Seniors are especially prone to bouts of depression and cognitive problems if they’re not getting the vitamin D they need.
- Increased risk of non-infectious diseases — A shortage of vitamin D can lead to several different types of non-infectious conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even several types of cancer.
Tips for Increasing Vitamin D Levels
Here are a few suggestions for assisting your senior care patient with getting sufficient levels of vitamin D into their system:
- Sun Exposure — There’s no simpler way to increase vitamin D levels than going for a walk on a sunny day. Excessive sun exposure can be dangerous (especially to seniors), so you’ll need to carefully monitor the time spent outdoors.
- Sun Lamps — It’s not always sunny in Dayton, especially during the winter, and that’s where sun lamps come in. These devices can provide vitamin D as well as the sun, but you should check with your loved one’s doctor about their risks and benefits.
- Nutrition — Foods that are high in vitamin D include tuna, salmon, cheese, milk, and egg yolks. There are fruit juices that are available that are fortified with vitamin D as well.
- Supplements — Discuss with your senior’s doctor about which vitamin D supplements they recommend.
- Professional Caregivers — Senior care providers can help make sure that your loved one is taking all the necessary steps to maintain high levels of vitamin D.
If you’d like some assistance with your family’s senior care needs, feel free to contact the professionals at Home Care Assistance of Dayton, OH.