Caregivers and the Blues
Can a daily dose of Vitamin D help Michigan caregivers beat the winter blues?
Northern Michigan caregivers juggling the holiday rush with the demands of caregiving may find themselves feeling a little blue. As the mercury drops, most of us tend to spend less time outdoors. Because winter in northern Michigan usually includes snow and ice, caregivers may stay inside more to decrease the risk for an elderly loved one experiencing a fall. To compensate for the lack of exposure to sunlight, aging experts recommend increasing your intake of Vitamin D.
In older adults, adequate levels of Vitamin D are important for everything from maintaining muscle mass to controlling depression and decreasing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
So how much is the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D?
- Adults aged 70 and under take at least 600 IU per day
- Adults over the age of 70 increase daily Vitamin D intake to 800 IU
What foods are highest in Vitamin D?
Very few foods are naturally high in Vitamin D, but some staples in your cupboards may be enriched with vitamin D. Milk and dairy products are well-known for being rich in calcium and fortified with Vitamin D. Lesser known Vitamin D rich foods are fish and oysters, mushrooms, pork, eggs and ricotta cheese.
And don’t forget your greens and nuts when you are trying to increase your Vitamin D levels. Spinach, okra, kale, almonds and sesame seeds are all rich in calcium. That is important because calcium helps your body absorb to better vitamin D.
Many foods are enriched with Vitamin D. Good choices to include in to your diet are vitamin enriched cereals, orange juice, soy milk and almond milk.
How do you know if your or an elderly loved one is vitamin deficient?
Because our bodies process foods differently as we age, it isn’t uncommon for older adults to need additional supplements to avoid vitamin deficiencies. If you suspect you or an aging loved one is at risk the experts at FamilyDoctor.org share this questionnaire. You can complete it and review it with your primary care physician at your next visit.
Are you a family caregiver?
Do northern Michigan winters leave you feeling blue?