Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: 480.448.6215

How to Reduce the Risk of B12 Deficiency in Older Adults

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

According to the USDA, B12 deficiency is now a national epidemic, and it is common among the elderly. The deficiency can lead to a variety of complications such as lack of energy, brain fog, permanent nerve damage, rapid heartbeat, and cardiovascular disease. Many of these symptoms are similar to other age-related health conditions, which is why this type of deficiency often goes undiagnosed in older adults.

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. In Chandler, families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Here are some tips seniors and their caregivers can use to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Check Medications

A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states heartburn medication can increase a senior’s risk of developing a B12 deficiency by nearly 65 percent. The researchers believe these drugs impact an individual’s ability to process and absorb nutrients. If a senior tests positive for B12 deficiency, his or her doctor might suggest changing the medication or altering the dosage. 

Try New Cuts of Meat

Organs tend to be full of vitamin B12, but many people shy away from cooking these cuts because they are unsure of what they will taste like. When cooked properly, organs such as the liver and heart can taste delicious. They are often considered delicacies around the world, and seniors might want to try dishes from areas such as Spain, Brazil, and Germany. Chefs generally pair them with aromatics like fresh herbs, red wine, and citrus fruit zest. As a caregiver, you may have to encourage your loved one to switch to healthier diets to meet his or her daily B12 requirement.

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Chandler, AZ, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Stock the Home with B12-Rich Snacks

Snacks rich in vitamin B12 also tend to be full of protein and healthy fats. Due to the combination of protein and fats, these snacks are the perfect option for seniors. Those who have a B12 deficiency might want to stock up on hard boiled eggs, canned tuna, beef jerky, and cheese sticks. When choosing snacks, your loved one should consider products that have as few additives and preservatives as possible. 

Take High-Quality Supplements

Seniors who face difficulty in absorbing nutrients from the foods they eat might need to supplement their meals with concentrated B12 vitamins. While many multivitamins designed for seniors contain some B12, a much higher dose might be needed. Seniors who are considering a B12 supplement should first speak with a doctor to make sure it will not interfere with their other medications. 

Get Monthly Shots

Vitamin B12 is one of the few micronutrients that can’t be synthesized by the human body. If a senior has a damaged stomach or an inefficient gastrointestinal system, he or she might need to schedule monthly B12 shots. Many people have these shots carried out simply to boost their immune system and increase their energy levels. Depending on the severity of the deficiency, the doctor may suggest a mixture of concentrated monthly shots and oral pills that release B12 over a long time.

Vitamin B12 is essential for cognitive health. Seniors with B12 deficiency are at a high risk of developing dementia. Chandler, AZ, dementia home care professionals can help your loved one manage the symptoms of dementia. Though mental stimulation is a key component of dementia care, it’s also important to encourage seniors to socialize regularly, eat nutritious foods, exercise, and focus on other healthy lifestyle factors. To learn about our dementia care plans, call Home Care Assistance at 480.448.6215 today.