It’s never too late to make healthy changes, no matter how old you are. If your senior loved one needs a healthy change involving tobacco, you can help them quit smoking for good. By making this change part of their home health care routine, you will help protect their health. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are the Risk Factors for Older Adults?
Even though smoking is a well-known health risk, research shows seniors are less likely to quit than younger people, because they have smoked for most of their lives. The same research also shows that lung cancer is the most common cause of tobacco-related mortality for people over the age of 60.
In addition to lung cancer, seniors who smoke are more likely to have chronic lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema coupled with bronchitis. They are also susceptible to breathing problems, low blood pressure, and mental decline, including dementia. Research also shows that smokers experience quicker cognitive decline than those who refrain from tobacco use.
How Can You Help Your Loved One Quit?
If your older loved one has yet to stop smoking, gently go over the detrimental effects of the habit when they are most alert and in a good mood. Focus on the positive aspects of quitting, such as how their heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal levels if they stop. Devise a plan together after identifying the reasons that are most important to the senior for quitting, such as spending time with grandchildren or improving their home health care experience. Look for replacement activities, such as low-impact exercises and chewing sugar-free gum.
Celebrate daily victories, such as having one cigarette instead of half a pack or abstaining entirely. Go out for ice cream or visit a friend. Taking it day by day makes quitting a lot easier because your loved one will feel less overwhelmed.
If your senior loved one needs more intensive home health care, contact Lifetime Care. Featuring locations in Rochester, Auburn, Lakeville, Newark, and Dundee, NY, this home health care provider has served the Finger Lakes region since 1960 and has received the Top Agency of the 2016 HomeCare Elite® award. Call (585) 214-1000 with questions, or learn more about their services online.