Enjoying the Summer Sunlight – Why Vitamin D is Important for Seniors

grandfather with grandson in park

Vitamin D and calcium are vital for healthy bones, but older adults are likely to suffer from a deficiency in these two important nutrients. This is because our ability to absorb nutrients decreases as our bodies get older. Here are some insights from our assisted living team in Cape May County, NJ, on why this happens and what you can do about it.

Why Seniors are at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency

As we age, certain changes take place that make it more difficult to supply the body with a healthy amount of calories and other nutrients. This includes:

  • Loss of appetite, which is very common amongst seniors.
  • Decreased absorption of nutrients by the small intestine and inability of the cells to adapt to lower levels of nutrients.
  • Less frequent exposure to sunlight, which is needed for the body to synthesize Vitamin D, and the skin’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D also decreases with age.
  • The kidney’s ability to convert Vitamin D into its most active form decreases with age.
  • Seniors spend more time indoors, especially when living in an assisted living facility or if they have mobility issues. The lack of sunshine over the winter months makes it even more of a challenge to getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D.

Why Vitamin D is Important for Seniors

Vitamin D is important at every stage of life, keeping muscles, tendons and bones healthy and strong. It also performs an important function in regulating the growth and development of different tissues in the body, keeping muscles functional and carrying messages through the nervous system.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that seniors between the ages of 65 and 88 who have a Vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to have a physical limitation than similarly aged seniors with healthy Vitamin D levels. 70% of the seniors with the deficiency were also more likely to develop further physical limitations.

Vitamin D therefore plays an important role in keeping seniors active, healthy and independent, and it’s important that these nutrient levels are monitored and supplemented as needed. The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that the average senior requires 800 – 100 IU/day, increasing to as much as 2000 IU/day for seniors with limited sun exposure or suffer from obesity, osteoporosis or malabsorption.

Visit Our Assisted living Cape May County NJ – A Community that Promotes Senior Independence

The Shores is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus our community to provide essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

Come and Visit Us

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    205 Jumping Brook Road
    Neptune, NJ 07753
    Phone: 732-922-9800