Helpful information from repuatable sources about caring for yourself or a loved one who has a debilitating condition.

Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 vitamins—vitamins C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate).

Vitamins have different jobs--helping you resist infections, keeping your nerves healthy, and helping your body get energy from food or your blood to clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.

Minerals also help your body function. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.

Vitamins and minerals are measured in a variety of ways. The most common are:

mg – milligram
mcg – microgram
IU – international unit

Your doctor might suggest that, like some older adults, you need extra of a few vitamins, as well as the mineral calcium. It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. That’s because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, like fiber. Look for foods fortified with certain vitamins and minerals, like some B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D. That means those nutrients are added to the foods to help you meet your needs.

Read more ...

Dietary supplements are substances you might use to add nutrients to your diet or to lower your risk of health problems, like osteoporosis or arthritis. Dietary supplements come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, gel tabs, extracts, or liquids. They might contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, herbs or other plants, or enzymes. Sometimes, the ingredients in dietary supplements are added to foods, including drinks. A doctor’s prescription is not needed to buy dietary supplements.

Should I Take a Dietary Supplement?

Do you need one? Maybe you do, but usually not. Ask yourself why you think you might want to take a dietary supplement. Are you concerned about getting enough nutrients? Is a friend, a neighbor, or someone on a commercial suggesting you take one?

Read more ...

Long distance caregiving tips for success

If you live an hour or more away from a person who needs care, you are a long-distance caregiver. This kind of care can take many forms—from helping with money management  and arranging for in-home care to providing respite care for a primary caregiver and planning for emergencies.

Long-distance caregiving presents unique challenges. If you find yourself in the long-distance caregiving role, here is a summary of things to keep in mind.

Read more ...

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and well-being.

Older people who don’t get enough of the right nutrients can be too thin or too heavy. Some may be too thin because they don’t get enough food. But others might be overweight partly because they get too much of the wrong types of foods. Keeping track of what you are eating could help you see which foods you should eat less of, more of, or not at all.

Read more ...

Planning Your Doctor Visit:  A Partnership

How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Unfortunately, talking with your doctor isn't always easy. In the past, the doctor typically took the lead and the patient followed. Today, a good patient-doctor relationship is a partnership. You and your doctor can work as a team.

Creating a basic plan before you go to the doctor can help you make the most of your visit. The tips in this article will make it easier for you and your doctor to cover everything you need to talk about.

Read more ...