Are Vitamin Supplements Safe for Seniors?

Vitamin supplements can be extremely beneficial for some people and dangerous for others. We at Carefect Home care Services understand the concern that many family caregivers have when it comes to whether or not their parent or loved one should take vitamins, and we hope to provide tips to help ease your mind and help with the decision process. The first thing to consider when purchasing vitamins is that they will not require a prescription but that they will be approved by your doctor. It is important to read the bottle thoroughly before buying it. Many companies that manufacture vitamin supplements will make claims on the bottle about the things that their product can do and then there will be a disclaimer on the bottle somewhere saying that it has not been evaluated by any government regulation agencies to ensure those claims. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should keep this in mind so that you can be informed about what you are buying.

Before you buy any vitamins or let your loved ones buy vitamins, you should check with a doctor to see what they recommend. A doctor should be able to tell you which vitamins are good for your loved one based on their diet and health history. They can also recommend which brands and doses are the best ones to get for each person. Consulting a doctor first is the best way to make sure that seniors are safe when taking vitamin supplements. For seniors on medications, you also have to consider possible interactions between the vitamins and medications which is another reason why you should talk to the doctor that prescribed the medicines originally because they will know about any possible negative interactions that could occur from mixing the vitamins with the medicine.

When it comes to what vitamins seniors should take, that can vary based on their diet and lifestyle. According to several studies, there is little evidence to prove that generic multivitamins are beneficial for people to take on a daily basis. In seniors though, there are specific supplements that can help certain groups of people. The most common vitamins for seniors to take are vitamin B and vitamin D. Vitamin B supplements can be important for seniors to take because as people get older their bodies have a hard time absorbing vitamin B12 which is important for metabolism and normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Vitamin D is something that most people can absorb by spending time in the sunlight, but for seniors who are in care facilities or with limited mobility that do not get out much, vitamin D deficiency can be a concern. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to low bone density, certain types of cancers, and premature aging or mortality. A vitamin D supplement can help with this and be very beneficial for those who do not get enough time in the sun. Calcium supplements are often recommended for older women in particular because as women age they often become prone to osteoporosis and can fall and break their bones easily. For women over 50, the daily recommended allowance of calcium is increased, as well as for men over 70. Those who are not getting at least 1,200 mg of calcium a day from their diet can consider taking calcium supplements to help strengthen their bones.

After you have helped your loved one pick out which vitamin supplements to take, you should make sure that they are taking the correct amount. Vitamin overdoses do not usually cause any lasting effects, but they can be dangerous.. For seniors with memory problems it might be a good idea to get them a pill organizer so that they can put their daily pills in it and will not forget if they have already taken their vitamins or take the wrong amount. Vitamin overdoses can cause a variety of symptoms, but some common ones that are usually easy to detect are confusion, seizures, fainting, rash or orange skin, nausea or vomiting, or dry and cracking lips and skin for long term overdoses. If your loved one experiences any of those symptoms, be sure to look at all of their vitamins because some vitamins can be toxic if taken in large amounts. If this happens you can call a poison control line or emergency services. Before calling be sure to note the age and weight of the person as well as how much of their vitamins they took. Usually patients will not have to be admitted to the hospital, but they might have to have a blood test to determine the level of the vitamins in their system and then a stomach pumping if necessary. In proper dosages, vitamin supplements can be very beneficial for seniors to take, so be sure to monitor the dosage and watch for signs of overdose.