Katherine Church

Katherine Church, RD, worked as a clinical dietitian in teaching hospitals in the Chicago area for 10 years. Currently the Executive Director of the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers, she has worked for Dietary Managers Association (DMA) for the past 20 years, heading up their national certification program.

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Dear Ms. Church,
I’m confused over whether or not I should provide my elderly motherwho I take care of with a multivitamin. She only likes to eat a limited range of foods and it’s hard to get her to eat a balanced meal. Do older adults need to take a multiple vitamin, especially in this instance?

Consuming a wide variety of food, in sufficient amounts, is the best idea no matter what your age, if you are healthy. However, your physician may suggest a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement meant for older adults, especially if they are not getting balanced meals because of food preferences. For older adults, supplements with vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and perhaps calcium are recommended. Talk to your doctor about any supplements before you provide them to your mother.