The right vitamin and mineral supplements can make all the difference to health and well-being when you are caring for your elderly parent.
In an ideal world your loved one can get all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need from their normal diet and much research by the Live-in Care Hub has gone into what constitutes the perfect diet for the overall health and well-being of the over-65s. There are some instances though where a normal diet can be enhanced by taking a regular supplement. Read on for advice on how you can help provide the right nutrition for your elderly parent to enjoy better health and vitality.
Consult their GP first
It’s important to understand that taking a supplement is no substitute for a proper, well-balanced diet and if your loved one is looked after by a live-in carer you can be sure that this is being provided for them. It is always advisable to talk to your parent’s GP before starting on any supplements to find out whether any will interfere with their medication. After this you could look at the following supplements for your parent.
An older person doesn’t absorb vitamin B12 as well as a younger person and B12 is important in the production of red blood cells, the metabolising of energy from food and the healthy function of the nervous system. The recommended safe dosage is a maximum 2.5mg per day.
This vitamin works in a similar way to B12 but in addition it helps to maintain blood sugar levels and helps in the formation of haemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body. Check with their GP first if they are diabetic. The NHS recommended dose is 1.4mg daily for men or 1.2mg for women.
Traditionally recommended for pregnant women, folic acid is useful for the formation and function of healthy red blood cells to prevent anaemia in the elderly. The recommended dose is 200mg per day.
Magnesium is good for bone health and healthy hormone regulation. It also helps to turn food into energy and helps in the absorption of calcium. Take advice from a GP or pharmacist on the correct dosage for over-65s.
This helps with the correct functioning of the heart and with the balance of fluids in the body. This can often be taken within a multivitamin supplement where the dosage of potassium is at safe levels.
Many elderly people feel a need to take extra fibre as an aid to digestion or to relieve constipation. A GPs advice should be taken if your elderly parent is suffering from constipation to find out the cause. Fibre can be taken in the form of meal or liquid supplements.
The body’s ability to absorb enough nutrients from food reduces the older we get so that even if the diet is of good quality and variety there may still be insufficient amounts of necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals absorbed. A good quality multivitamin supplement will have the correct balance of all those necessary for good health without the risk of ingesting too much of any of them.