The Cottages Blog

The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Seniors

Posted by Susan Abercrombie on Jul 25, 2017 9:00:00 AM


One of the easiest ways you can make sure you age well is by adding foods to your diet that contain the best vitamins and minerals for you. Seniors have different nutritional needs than they did when they were younger. Focusing on getting the best nutrients can help you live a longer, healthier, happier life.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Not getting enough calcium in your diet can put you at risk for bone fractures, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia. As you age, calcium starts to leave your bones. So make sure you eat foods with plenty of calcium. While dairy is a great source of calcium, eating too much milk and cheese can cause constipation, so focus on all the different types of foods that contain calcium. Leafy greens like broccoli and kale, nuts land beans, and even some citrus fruits like oranges all contain calcium.  

Vitamin D helps your body absorb more calcium, so make sure you get a healthy dose of both. Vitamin D is created when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Getting just 5-30 minutes of direct sunlight a couple of times a week while you’re not wearing sunscreen can help you keep healthy levels of vitamin D in your system. Like calcium, vitamin D can help you lower your risk of developing osteoporosis. It may also help you reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, like breast cancer.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for your brain and spinal cord. Having low levels of vitamin B12 in your system can cause you to become confused or agitated. In extreme cases, a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause hallucinations. It may be harder for seniors to absorb vitamin B12 than it is for younger adults, so make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Vegetarians are more likely to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency since Eat foods like eggs, cheeses, red meats, and seafood which are high in protein and vitamin B12.


Iron is found in your red blood cells, which play an important role in transporting oxygen throughout your body. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, which happens when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Anemia can cause extreme fatigue. Bleeding from ulcers, injuries, or surgeries can also cause iron deficiency. To make sure you’re getting enough iron, eat foods like lentils, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. Red meats and liver also contain high amounts of iron, but eat those foods in moderation.


Caregiver's Field Guide to Assisted Living

Topics: Senior Health Care

Susan Abercrombie

Written by: Susan Abercrombie

Susan has 32 years of nursing experience caring for seniors in assisted living and doctors’ offices. She now manages two Cottage communities in Alabama. Susan and her husband of 30 years, Tim, have two dogs, Sydney and Macy.