Having healthy Vitamin D levels is important at any age, but it’s especially important for the elderly. Vitamin D helps the body maintain good bone health, as well as promotes good brain health. As your loved one gets older, having enough Vitamin D helps prevent bone loss (and breakage). It also helps her avoid feeling depressed.
That’s because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. Having enough Vitamin D also helps the body in its circulatory, immune, and digestive functions.
If your loved one’s blood test indicates low Vitamin D levels, they can easily get back to healthy levels. With some help from you and her companion care at home team, she’ll be feeling the benefits of normal Vitamin D levels again before long. Here are some of the more common ways to increase Vitamin D.
Say hello to the sun!
You might have heard of Vitamin D being called the “sunshine vitamin.” That’s because one of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight. A person’s skin has a type of cholesterol that when it interacts with sunlight, it becomes Vitamin D. Sunlight-derived Vitamin D also tends to last longer in the body than vitamin D that comes from supplements or food.
But getting Vitamin D from the sun can be complicated. Darker-skinned individuals may not absorb enough of it. Likewise, elderly people’s skin doesn’t convert it as well as it used to. Of course, too much direct sunlight causes sunburn, increasing your risk for skin cancer. Top that off, most sunscreens also block what your body needs to create Vitamin D. However, it gets even more complicated.
The good news is that light-skinned folk only need about 10 minutes of direct sunlight a day to boost their Vitamin D levels. So keep it to that, and your loved one should safely get some Vitamin D from the sun.
Try some Vitamin D-rich foods
Food enriched with Vitamin D helps your loved one get more of it. Vitamin D packs fatty fish, such as salmon, with its nutrients. Have your companion care at home provider help your loved one pick out salmon at the store for several meals a week to get Vitamin D this way. Mushrooms and eggs are two other foods rich in Vitamin D and can easily be added to the weekly shopping list.
Try a supplement
If your loved one is especially low in Vitamin D, her doctor may recommend a supplement to bring her levels back up to where they should be. Find out what dosage your loved one needs, then ask her companion care at home provider to help ensure she gets the right dosage from the pharmacy.
For many people, Vitamin D levels drop in the winter months and increase in the summer as they spend more time outside. Therefore, checking levels twice a year helps your loved one stay on top of her levels.