As we grow older, we find we cannot maintain the same pace of a once active lifestyle, ie, our overall metabolism slows down which in turn makes our movements, reflex actions and thoughts slow down, leading to our muscles weakening which reduces our movement flexibility. This brings an unwanted change in our overall health and well-being, when we find we cannot respond or move as fast or as easily as we did a few years ago.
A slower metabolism means that the process of absorbing all the necessary nutrients and vitamins from the food that we normally eat, has slowed down and the process is not as efficient as before. Remember, food must be broken down properly to enable the stomach to digest it and absorb necessary nutrition, failing which there will be deficiencies leading to breakdown of certain bodily functions.
One fact why food cannot be absorbed properly as we age, is because the teeth and gums of an elderly person are not as strong and efficient as they once were. This could be due to thinning gums which in turn loosens teeth, or ill-fitting dentures, making it painful and definitely less efficient to chew properly and break down the food for proper digestion and absorption. Food just passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed properly.
Another fact to consider is diet, because as we get older, we tend to become picky with the food we eat, thus limiting our choice of food and reducing our nutrient absorption. Sometimes the diet may be Dietary supplements provide your body with adequate levels of nutrients which may otherwise be missing from an elderly person’s daily diet. We will discuss a few essential supplements as below.
In the case of seniors, the slowing down of one’s functions is a disadvantage if the individual needs to be active to continue working, and slowing down on the job will inevitability lead to job loss. The slowing down of movements in older people is an important factor for employers to take into consideration when hiring them, as it can be seen many incidents of accidents and falls at the workplace are from the older group range. An older employee will need a longer time to recover from a fracture or sprain, compared to his or her younger counterpart, taxing the employer further with hospital and medical coverage.
Here is where one important supplement comes in which is related to falls and fractures in older people. Older people may not get enough calcium from their diets alone. We do know that a lack of calcium can cause brittle bones and teeth, which start with a disease called osteopenia, a stage when your bones start to weaken, and normally ends up as osteoporosis or brittle bones disease which is irreversible. Fractures from falls in the older population have been fatal in many cases, mainly due to calcium deficiency which makes mending of the broken bones extremely difficult. It was also found that older women were at higher risk of developing osteoporosis, which could be linked to child bearing and menopause. So, it is very important for a medical practitioner assess and determine if an old person who continues to work would need a calcium supplement.
Vitamin D, can easily be obtained by being in the sun for about 15 – 30 mins twice weekly. This vitamin is required for the body to absorb calcium either from food or a supplement. An elderly person may not be able to get sufficient Vitamin D by being in the sun, and as such, may need a Vitamin D supplement to ensure the body can absorb calcium efficiently, to ensure strong and healthy bones are maintained.
Another two important vitamins, which are Vitamin B6 which is required to form healthy blood cells, and Vitamin B12 which helps keep the blood cells and nerves in top condition. A short supply of both these vitamins can cause blood related ailments, so your medical practitioner will definitely recommend a good supplement if you are found to be lacking in them. Poor blood cells may cause poor blood clotting, which is dangerous if a person suffering from a cut is unable to stop bleeding. If nerves lose their ability to function, a person may not be able to feel when he or she gets a deep cut, especially when it happens in the body’s extremities, eg, hands and feet.
Lastly, we will touch on the importance of essential antioxidants. Your body needs a good supply of antioxidants to protect your cells from damage that can be done by free radicals. Seniors should ensure they have adequate supplies of antioxidants to keep their body healthy. Common antioxidants which should be included in daily diets are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene and Selenium, and they can also be taken in supplement form if found lacking in an elderly person’s body.
It is hoped this write-up has given a brief insight in the importance of the elderly having sufficient nutrients and vitamins, failing which supplements should be taken only as advised by a medical practitioner. Do bear in mind that some supplements and medications do not mix well. Hence, we must stress the importance that an elderly person listens to and strictly follows the advice his or her medical practitioner gives, which coupled with appropriate exercise, will aid in a healthy lifestyle in his or her golden years.
21st April 2020 20:00
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