Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for promoting a healthy body and immune system. While there are multiple sources of Vitamin D, it’s still very common for some people (especially seniors) to still suffer from deficiencies, which can have a negative impact on their health.
Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health and immunity, and as such, having a vitamin D deficiency can lead to Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Depression, Type 2 Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis. Some of these conditions, especially Osteoporosis, are already more common in seniors. Because of this, seniors need to ensure they get enough vitamin D to help prevent these conditions with increasing age as a risk factor. The three main ways to get Vitamin D are food, sunlight, and supplements. Read on to learn more.
Certain foods are rich in vitamin D, so caregivers should prepare meals featuring these foods to promote a well-balanced diet for the seniors they care for. Foods high in vitamin D include egg yolks, fatty fish fortified foods (cereals, milk, juices), and yogurt. Despite its prevalence in foods, many people suffer from a vitamin D deficiency because it’s challenging to get enough vitamin D through our diet alone.
The sun is a natural source of vitamin D that you can absorb by spending time outside. However, it is important to be careful about spending too much time outdoors as the sun’s rays can be damaging to unprotected skin.
Supplements are a sure-fire way to get enough daily Vitamin D. Family caregivers can simply add the supplement to the senior’s daily medications to be certain that your loved one is receiving enough Vitamin D as recommended by their physician.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency in Seniors
Caregivers of seniors should be aware of the following four signs of a Vitamin D deficiency.
- Frequently Being Sick – Vitamin D directly interacts with the cells in the body responsible for addressing infections, so if your loved one is sick a lot or gets recurring infections, this may be due to a vitamin D deficiency. Check with their physician.
- Depression – Multiple studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to Depression, so Home Health Aides, CNAs and Caregivers should consider vitamin D as a contributor to a senior’s depression. Other causes include a health condition or lack of socialization, meaning in-home assistance must consider all these factors when determining a Vitamin D deficiency. Again, bring any concerns about a possible deficiency to the senior’s physician.
- Bone And Back Pain – Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which plays a significant role in bone health. If a senior is experiencing bone or lower back pain, this could be another sign of a Vitamin D deficiency.
- Ensuring Adequate Vitamin D – A Vitamin D deficiency is common for anyone to suffer from, but the senior population is especially susceptible to this deficiency. Caregivers for seniors should watch for the signs of vitamin D deficiency and offer a well-balanced diet, time to enjoy the sunlight, and assistance in taking supplements.
Allcare caregivers are trained to watch for symptoms of a possible health problem. Call (919) 301-0236 today to schedule an in-home new client assessment.
Parker, G., Brotchie, H., & Graham, R. (2017). Vitamin D and depression. Journal Of Affective Disorders, 208, 56-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.08.082
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Osteoporosis | MedlinePlus. (2022) Retrieved 1 April 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/osteoporosis.html