Eating a healthy diet packed with vitamins and minerals is important at any age, but for seniors, getting those nutrients from food isn’t always possible. Aging bodies don’t absorb certain vitamins the way they should, and seniors often consume fewer calories, leaving them deficient in important vitamins like B12, which could have serious consequences. Here are some reasons your senior loved one may need more B12.
1. Prevent Short-Term Symptoms
While many of the symptoms associated with B12 deficiency in seniors turn into long-term issues, your loved one may also develop some short-term issues. Confusion, fatigue, and memory loss are just a few of the symptoms you may notice. However, these can also be symptoms of many other diseases, your loved one’s doctor may misdiagnose them and not test for a B12 deficiency right away.
A dedicated caregiver can keep track of the symptoms of B12 deficiency. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Huntington, WV, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Reduce the Risk of Anemia
Vitamin B12 is essential for creating red blood cells, which are responsible for making sure the body gets enough oxygen. When there aren’t enough red blood cells in the bloodstream, your loved one may feel tired, have difficulty taking deep breaths, or experience brain fog. Eventually, a person with anemia may have pale or jaundiced skin. Any of these symptoms should be a cause for concern and a trip to the doctor.
3. Lower the Chances of Nerve Damage
One long-term issue that can have serious consequences is damage to the nerves, which are protected by a fatty substance called myelin. Without enough B12, the body can’t produce myelin, which can lead to issues with the nervous system and eventually a loss of mobility. Early warning signs include pins and needles in the hands and feet, as well as difficulty walking or loss of balance and coordination. While common in the lower half, this type of nerve damage can occur all over the body, including the eyes, which can lead to impaired vision.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Huntington families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
4. Stave Off Depression and Dementia
A lack of B12 can also lead to issues with mood and brain function because it can affect the amount of homocysteine in the brain. Some studies have shown a direct correlation with depression and a lack of B12. More serious cases may even lead to dementia. If you notice your loved one is experiencing frequent mood changes, it may be time to talk to his or her doctor about a B12 test.
5. Combat Deficiencies
Aging adults are at a greater risk for B12 deficiency than their younger counterparts for various reasons, including a low production of the stomach acid needed to absorb the vitamin, which might be caused by medications, especially those for diabetes. Seniors with intestinal issues like Crohn’s disease or those who have had stomach or intestinal surgery may be at a greater risk. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your loved one’s doctor about taking a vitamin B12 supplement to prevent serious complications from occurring.
Family caregivers should make sure to get plenty of B12 to avoid becoming ill and not being able to care for their loved one. If you need additional help providing the care your loved one needs, respite care is a wonderful option. There are a variety of reasons family caregivers should consider respite care. Huntington, WV, families often have additional responsibilities that make it more challenging to provide the care their senior loved ones need and deserve. A professional respite caregiver can take over your important caregiving duties, allowing you more time to focus on yourself. Find out more about Home Care Assistance’s in-home care services by calling (304) 521-2909 today.