October 17, 2018
When an elderly adult has been smoking for most of their adult life, they may develop the attitude that it’s too late for them to ever quit.
They may justify their habit in ways that frustrate family members and friends who are concerned about their loved one’s health. The truth is that seniors are the most vulnerable group when it comes to smoking-related illnesses and diseases and it is never too late to quit. When seniors stop smoking, even at a late age, there are positive impacts on their health.
Seniors and Smoking
Nearly 10 percent of all seniors in the United States smoke, and while that number is declining over the years, there are still millions of elderly adults that use cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many devastating illnesses and chronic conditions directly related to smoking, including cancer, respiratory diseases, heart diseases and more. The mortality rate for smokers is three times higher than those who do not smoke, according to the CDC.
Other health complications from smoking include a reduced sense of taste and smell, poor blood circulation, headaches, breathing complications, eye diseases and bone conditions like osteoporosis. No matter how old a person is, quitting smoking will improve their health. That’s why doctors for elderly adults always recommend it to their patients.
How Seniors Can Quit Smoking
There’s no doubt that quitting smoking is especially challenging for elderly adults that have been smoking for decades. However, with a good plan and the support of doctors, family members, and friends, many elderly adults achieve the goal of quitting once and for all.
-The first step is to come up with a treatment plan with a doctor. They can prescribe medicine that can ease the transition from smoking to non-smoking. Family caregivers should be there to support their loved one by helping them avoid triggers, providing snacks and gum as needed, distracting them with activities and hobbies, and helping them deal with the physical effects of withdrawal.
-Family caregivers can also provide emotional support as part of their elderly care duties. Not only is quitting hard physically but mentally. Having a support system in place to motivate and inspire them to quit is important to elderly adults. There will almost certainly be relapses and slip-ups, but with supportive family members, elderly adults can start up again and work their way toward success.
-Friends and family of elderly smokers need to remember that after a lifetime of smoking, quitting may be one of the hardest things they’ve done. However, with a good plan and lots of support, seniors will be able to find success and give up smoking once and for all.