It’s recommended that people over the age of 70 get 800 IU of vitamin D each day. According to the CDC, in 2012, between 3 and 31 percent of adults had a vitamin D deficiency. In that range, the deficiencies were lowest in non-Hispanic Caucasian adults and highest in non-Hispanic African-American adults.
Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. It can help your body fight off a virus or bacterial infection. It’s also a vitamin that many seniors overlook. Many feel that they get plenty by eating some cheese or having a glass of milk every now and then. That’s not always enough.
Risks That Come From Too Little Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for bone health and can also protect against some forms of cancer, especially colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Low vitamin D stores can also lead to osteomalacia, which is a condition in which bones soften and leads to bone pain. Often, this pain is in the hips, legs, lower back, pelvis, and rib cage. Pain is often worse at night. The soft bones can also weaken muscles and impact mobility.
Seniors have the highest risk of falling, and those falls often lead to a bone break. Vitamin D can help prevent a broken bone. It’s important that seniors get enough vitamin D. Sunlight is one of the best ways to get it, but the risk of skin cancer impacts how much time many people spend in the sun.
How Can You Increase Your Mom and Dad’s Vitamin D Intake?
Talk to their doctor. It may be advisable to take a vitamin D supplement each day. Unfortunately, the foods are rich in vitamin D tend to be foods that the elderly skip because of low-fat diets. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include liver, egg yolks, cheese, milk, mushrooms, and fatty fish.
If a vitamin D deficiency is detected, your mom or dad may need someone to remind them to take their supplement each morning. This is one of the services home care provides. They may need help with their diet to ensure vitamin D-rich foods are eaten at each meal. Again, caregivers can help.
Call a home care agency to learn more about the many ways a caregiver can help your mom and dad age at home without risk. You’ll get answers to your questions and learn more about schedules and pricing. Call us today.