Do you have an elderly parent or loved one who smokes? Seniors can be one of the toughest demographics to convince to quit smoking since it has become such an entrenched habit. In Canada, nearly 11% of men and more than 8% of women 65 and older smoke cigarettes daily. Even though it’s late in life, there are many convincing reasons for your loved one to quit:

The Dangers for Seniors Who Smoke

Smoking cigarettes is associated with a range of negative health effects. Age plays a large factor in increasing the risks. Smoking is the leading cause of death by cancer. In addition to lung cancer, smoking causes cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, kidney, liver, pancreas, stomach, bladder, cervix, rectum, and colon. Smoking also plays a huge part in coronary disease, lower respiratory complications, and stroke. It is also directly linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can cause or worsen the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Reasons to Encourage Seniors to Quit

If your loved one is stubborn and refuses to kick the habit, here are the reasons why you should keep trying and never allow them to feel like it’s too late to quit.

  • Smoking can reduce bone density, especially in women, which can easily increase the chances of developing osteoporosis, bone fractures, and breaks.
  • Studies have linked smoking to vision loss, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, along with numerous other debilitating diseases in seniors.
  • It’s costly; quitting smoking means spending a lot less money.
  • The body can begin to heal itself in a matter of minutes after quitting.

Steps for Quitting

If you’re determined to get you loved on off of cigarettes, try following these steps to guide you and them:

  • Work with your loved one’s healthcare team. Your loved one’s primary care physician and other members of their healthcare team can come up with a smoking cessation plan together.
  • Help them find a reason for quitting. This will be their motivation, so it should be something meaningful. This motivation will help them get ready to quit, and follow through on their commitment.
  • Make a date. Figure out a quit date that they feel is realistic. Though today is the best day possible, some people find comfort in starting fresh on a Monday or at the beginning of the month.
  • Preparation is key. Have a plan set in place, such as keeping tabs on how they are gradually reducing their intake and what their symptoms are.
  • Coping mechanisms. After smoking for decades, be prepared for a struggle. It helps to have substitutes such as gum, or even e-cigarettes with reduced nicotine.

Watching your elderly loved one smoke day in and day out without the motivation to quit can be hard to endure. But with enough persuasion and the right amount of motivation, anything is possible. So use these tips to help guide you in helping your elderly loved one kick the habit for good.

At Qualicare Family Homecare, senior health is very important to us. Call us at 613.366.2899 to discover other ways we can assist with the care of your loved one.

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