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Nutritional Deficiencies Common Among People 65+

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

A reduction in lean body mass and a lower basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy expended each day while at rest) that occurs with age can contribute to nutritional deficiencies that may increase susceptibility to certain illnesses and prolong recovery and healing times. Local senior care providers encourage family members and caregivers in the Lehigh Valley to learn more about these nutritional deficiencies and what nutrient-rich foods are essential to senior health.

B-12

The ability to absorb the B-12 that’s necessary to maintain healthy nerve function decreases with age. This deficiency can be compensated for with dietary supplements and the following foods especially high in B-12:

• Shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams)
• Liver, liverwurst sausage, chicken
• Fish (mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna)
• Eggs and milk products

Folic Acid

It’s believed that folic acid helps with mood and cognitive functioning in older adults. Seniors can compensate for a folic acid deficiency by eating more fruits, leafy green veggies, and opting for breakfast cereals fortified with folate.

Calcium

Bone density decreases with age, especially in post-menopausal women due to a loss of calcium and other essential nutrients. People 65 and older can reduce the risk of fractures by increasing their servings of low-fat milk and calcium-rich foods like:

• Kale and broccoli
• Calcium-fortified juices
• Yogurt

Vitamin D

A vitamin D deficiency in older adults can increase the risk of falling since this necessary nutrient helps the body absorb calcium from food. Vitamin D also plays a role in fighting infection and facilitating muscle movement. Responsible sun exposure, certain fortified foods, and supplements can help seniors boost vitamin D intake.

Potassium

Potassium plays a pivotal role in maintaining healthy cell function and keeping blood pressure in check. A potassium deficiency in older adults can also reduce bone density. Good sources of potassium include:

• Bananas
• Prunes and plums
• Potatoes (the skin is especially rich in potassium)

Fiber

For seniors, fiber can prevent harmful bacteria from building up in the digestive tract and help prevent heart disease. Both younger people and seniors tend to have a fiber deficiency because of their diet. Reliable sources of fiber include:

• Whole grains
• Beans
• Nuts
• Berries
• Crunchy vegetables

For many seniors, proper nutrition takes a backseat when tasks like grocery shopping and cooking become more challenging. Find the support your loved one needs and deserves to maintain optimal health by reaching out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of senior care in the Lehigh Valley. Our caregivers are compassionate and experienced, we are available to clients 24/7, and care schedules can be changed at any time without penalty. For more information, please call 484-350-3874 today.