“I’ve smoked since I was 16 years old, so what makes you think I can quit now that I’m 76 years old?”
“I’m in my last years anyhow so why should I bother quitting smoking.”
“My health is already affected by decades of smoking, so quitting now isn’t going to do me any good.”
“Smoking is one of the few things left that I enjoy, so I don’t want to quit.”
There are dozens of excuses as to why elderly adults don’t want to quit smoking, but studies show that quitting at any age can dramatically improve health and wellness. Seniors are especially at risk for developing smoking-related illnesses and conditions, and quitting is the best way to avoid those.
Family caregivers may need to be the ones to convince an elderly relative to stop smoking for their own benefit, as well as for those that are around the smoker. The good news is that there are several successful methods for smokers to quit the habit, even if they are elderly adults.
Smoking in Seniors
Approximately 10 percent of all elderly adults are smokers. While the numbers have steadily decreased over the last two decades, that still means more than 4 million seniors are using cigarettes daily. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of a stroke, lung disease, heart attacks, and cancer. It can also cause conditions like eye diseases, osteoporosis, an increase in respiratory illnesses and a weakened immune system.
Smoking also affects their daily lives in many ways. Smokers have a reduced sense of smell and spend a lot of money on cigarettes. Basic issues like skin, eyes, and hair are affected by the odor and smoke. Elderly care tasks can be more difficult when the elderly person gets winded from simple movements or must stop several times a day for a cigarette break. Quitting is difficult but dealing with numerous health problems has an even greater effect on daily life.
Family Caregivers Can Help Seniors Quit Smoking
The addictive substance in tobacco is nicotine and when the body is dependent on it, quitting can be physically and mentally difficult. However, there are several proven strategies that help people quit. Family caregivers need to make sure the elderly relative is ready to quit because unless the smoker has the desire to stop, nothing else will work.
The first step in quitting is to talk to the elderly person’s doctor and come up with a plan. Doctors can prescribe or recommend medicine that can help lessen the dependence on nicotine over time. The can also point to additional resources for quitting, such as support groups, additional elderly care assistance, and even therapy. Family caregivers also need education on the symptoms of withdrawal and how to deal with them. They include frustration, hunger, irritability, headaches, depressed feelings, insomnia, and lethargy.
Other factors that support successfully quitting include avoiding triggers, reading self-help information, online mobile tracking tools, and support from friends and family. Both family members and elderly adults should expect slip-ups and relapses during the process, but together they can get back on track. The health benefits of stopping smoking are worth it, even if the elderly adult has smoked for decades. They’ll notice improvements in their health as well as a boost in their quality of life as they finally quit their habit of smoking.
If you are considering hiring Home Care in Canton, MI, contact the caring staff at No Place Like Home Health, LLC today. Call (734) 259-4200.