There are all kinds of reasons for seniors to quit smoking, like a reduced risk of lung cancer, less respiratory illnesses, and better overall health. However, sometimes it isn’t the “why” that prevents people from quitting. It’s often the “how” that is a problem. Nicotine is addictive, so giving it up can be very difficult, especially someone who has smoked for many years. If your aging relative has made the decision to quit smoking, but could use some help doing it, below are 5 tips that may help them to quit.
#1: Identify the Motivation
Picking a specific reason, they want to quit, or a goal that quitting can help them meet may strengthen their resolve to stick with their smoking cessation plan. Yes, the senior probably knows it will make them healthier, but picking something more concrete is often useful. For example, perhaps they have lost a friend or family member to lung cancer, so they want to quit in that person’s honor and to reduce their own chances of getting the disease. Or, the reason could be wanting to protect a new grandchild from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
#2: Make a Date with Being Smoke-Free
Have the senior pick a date no further than one month away that they will be entirely free from cigarettes by. Picking a date that is too far away gives them an opportunity to change their mind. Mark the date on the calendar, so they can see it.
#3: See a Doctor
There are medicines and strategies available to help the older adult to quit smoking. Talking to a doctor can make the senior aware of all their options. Having a medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms can make quitting much easier.
#4: Avoid Triggers
Seeing ashtrays, lighters, and packs of cigarettes lying around the house can increase cravings. Get rid of them all. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly clean the house to rid it of smoke odors. Then, if the senior wants to smoke, they’ll need to do it outside, which can be a deterrent.
#5: Expect Slip Ups
Older adults should be reminded that giving up cigarettes is hard. They may not progress along the path perfectly. If they should take a puff off a cigarette or smoke one or two, that doesn’t mean they have to stop trying. Instead, they need to forgive themselves for the mistake and keep trying.
Elder care can also assist older adults to quit smoking. An elder care provider can be part of the support system that encourages the senior to keep trying and working toward their goal. An elder care provider can distract them with an activity until the craving for a cigarette stops. In addition, elder care providers can remind the senior to take cessation medications, if needed.
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