It can seem overwhelming for an aging parent to consider quitting smoking. They have probably undertaken the goal countless times before only to have gone back to a habit that is certainly hard to break. Motivating factors are important to ensuring success. If they have developed a disease such as COPD or heart disease that is a direct correlation to smoking, the incentive may be strong enough to get them through the withdrawal stage and onto the healing stage. If they are doing it due to the nagging of family members, their impetus may need additional support.
Knowing the immediate benefits that result from quitting this devastating habit can help your parent get through the difficult beginnings. According to NIH Senior Health, “20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops to more normal levels. 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.” Post these benefits where your loved one can see them on a daily basis to help remind them of what they will derive from continuing on the path of quitting.
Getting through Withdrawal
The biggest challenge is getting though the withdrawal symptoms which are particularly strong during the first few weeks after quitting. Common withdrawal symptoms include craving nicotine, anger or irritability, anxiety, depression and weight gain. Knowing that these too shall pass will help your loved one look to the future instead of dwelling in the uncomfortable present.
Provide your loved one with alternatives they can reach for when the urge strikes such as hard candy, sugarless gum, carrots, sliced apples or celery. Ask their primary health care provider about nicotine replacements products if the effort is proving too difficult. Help them add health-promoting lifestyle changes such as regularly scheduled exercise. Keep them busy so they have less time to dwell on what is missing. If they are not already, consider getting them engaged in the local senior community center that offers an abundance of classes and social activities.
Smokefree 60 plus is a great website that offers support and suggestion for those 60 and over who are trying to break the habit. It includes a quitting plan, stop smoking aids, tools and resources that can help your loved one make this attempt successful. It also offers online counselors that can help your loved one get through the rough spots.
Elder Care Provider
An elder care provider can offer the companionship and care that can incentivize your parent to stick to their proposed goal. They can prepare healthy meals, accompany your parent on daily walks, and remind them of the benefits they’ll receive by living a healthy life. They can keep them busy and engaged and before they know it, months will have passed and success will be achieved.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Raleigh, NC or the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at HomeChoice Home Care Services. Call today (919) 858-6034
He is an avid mountain biker, golfer and a fan of the Boston Red Sox and the University of Connecticut Huskies. Brian resides in Apex, NC with his wife, Jennifer and their two children.
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