Best Supplements For Seniors

supplements for seniors

Caring for your parents or grandparents requires taking different steps to keep them healthy and strong. Supplements for seniors are an excellent way to enhance the well-being of older adults. It is essential to choose the right supplements and the recommended daily intake that best suits your older loved ones to stay active and full of energy.

At Seasons Retirement Communities, we encourage our residents to use the best supplements for seniors to remain healthy and comfortable. This enables them to carry out their daily activities easily and engage in recreational activities that suit their interests without concerns about nutritional balance.

This article will give an overview of supplements and why it is essential to include them in our older relatives’ meal plans.

What Are Supplements?

Sometimes, we may not get all the essential nutrients needed for optimal body functioning from our meals. Supplements are products containing these vital enzymes, herbs, vitamins, minerals or fibres that we can use to support our diets. They can be in the form of pills, capsules, gel capsules, powders, or liquids.

Supplements vs Medicine

Now let’s address the debate – supplements vs medicine. While supplements benefit older adults, they are not as mandatory as medicine. Supplements help to reduce the risk of developing health conditions like arthritis and high blood pressure. To a large extent, they are for preventive measures instead of the corrective nature of medicine.

While a doctor must prescribe medicine to avoid abuse and health complications, supplements can be taken on recommendation. However, it is essential to note that supplements should be taken wisely, as they are not a replacement for already prescribed medications from the doctor.

Why Do You Need Supplements?

Exercise and good eating habits go a long way in helping older adults maintain and improve their health, but there’s only so much these two practices can achieve. It is best to include supplements in their meal plan to bridge the gap between their usual dietary intake and nutritional needs.

Supplements for older adults are vital for healthy living in older people for the following reasons:

  • Their bodies are less effective at absorbing the nutrients from food.
  • Some healthy foods rich in essential nutrients may be difficult to chew or digest.
  • They benefit from foods and substances that strengthen their bones and prevent them from becoming brittle.
  • Some medications and health conditions can hinder nutrients from being absorbed efficiently by the body through food intake.
  • Older people who do not head outdoors as often as they used to will need an alternate source of vitamin D.
  • They generally eat less food because they need fewer calories and have less appetite.

Recommended Supplements For Seniors

1.    Calcium

Calcium works with vitamin D to strengthen older people’s teeth and bones. It is commonly found in low-fat milk, dark-green leafy vegetables, and canned fish with soft bones.

1,000 mg for ages between 51 to 70 and 1,200mg for people over 70 is the recommended daily dosage. That said, note that the pills shouldn’t be taken all at once but broken into smaller quantities to take through the day for easy absorption.

2.    Vitamin D

Usually, older adults don’t spend enough time outside, so they may not get as much sunshine exposure as they used to, leading to a risk of Vitamin D deficiency. They need to get this vitamin elsewhere, making it one of the supplements for seniors.

It is recommended that older adults between 51 to 70 take 600 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D and 800 IU if they are over 70. They can also take milk products and cereals fortified with vitamin D. This vitamin helps maintain bone health.

3.    Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9, known as folic acid or folate, helps keep the brain and nervous system healthy and form red blood cells.

Taking this mineral helps ward off anemia and memory loss. It also helps to convert carbohydrates to energy and is usually found in fruits and vegetables. It is an excellent supplement if your older loved ones don’t get enough of this in their daily diet. Four hundred micrograms are the recommended dietary folate equivalent for older persons.

4.    Vitamin B12

This vitamin keeps red blood cells and nerves healthy. Natural food sources of this vitamin are limited to animal foods, so you should consider this one of the supplements for vegetarian seniors. The acceptable amount to take per day is 2.4 micrograms.

5.    Multivitamins

Another good supplement for older people is multivitamins. They encompass a range of vitamins like vitamin A, C, and E and some minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium in adequate amounts.

6.    Magnesium

This assists in maintaining normal blood pressure and strong bones. Your goal should be to supply them with about 420 mg of this mineral.

7.    Potassium

This mineral is necessary for the normal functioning of all cells, nerves and muscles. They help to regulate fluid balance and control blood pressure. The well-being of the kidneys, bones and cardiovascular system depends on potassium. Older adults’ daily intake of this supplement should be equal to 3,400 mg.

8.    Antioxidants

They include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene etc. They help protect your older loved ones from diseases.

What To Look Out For?

In selecting the best supplements for seniors, you must be careful. Not every supplement is the right choice. There are some with a lot of extra minerals that are unnecessary. For this reason, you need to examine the ingredients to ensure that the supplements only contain the vitamins and minerals your older relatives need.

It is also expedient to use good medication management to check for unwanted side effects and unsafe interactions with the prescription drugs already in use by your older loved ones.

Taking too many different supplements or high doses may harm the body. Hence, it would be best if you went through the label of the supplement you are buying to ensure that the vitamins and minerals are in the right amount.

Finally, it is best to discuss with your older relatives’ doctor which dietary supplement suits them best and keep a record of the supplements given.

End Note

While supplements for seniors are valuable, a healthy lifestyle of wholesome meals, exercise, mental activities, and sleep is as beneficial to the health of our parents or grandparents. All these practices make for a happy and active older adult.

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