Smoking is a prevalent problem in the United States, and is a significant factor in disability and mortality for the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is responsible for:
Tobacco use costs the US more than $300 billion annually in direct health care and lost productivity, and $156 billion is due to health care expenditures.
Despite the well-known health risks of smoking, 14% of adults over the age of 18 in the United States smoke.
Smoking is a significant problem in the elderly population. Over 8% of individuals over the age of 65 in the United States smoke.
The Health Consequences of Smoking
Smoking is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and worldwide. According to the CDC, smoking:
- Increases the likelihood of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
- Is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
- Increases the risk of developing diabetes and contributes to the development of peripheral vascular disease, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the legs and feet.
- Increases the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which are two of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
- Increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increases the risk of developing other types of cancers, including cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, kidney, stomach, ovary, larynx, and pancreas.
How Can I Help My Senior Quit?
If you have a senior who smokes, you may be wondering how to help them to quit. Here are some strategies and resources to help your senior loved one:
1. Make a plan
If you know your senior loved one is interested in quitting smoking, help them to formulate a quit plan. A plan should include:
– When the senior will quit smoking (ideally, as soon as possible).
– How the senior will quit smoking (e.g., cold turkey or quitting gradually by using cigarettes with lower levels of nicotine).
– How the senior will cope with withdrawal symptoms.
– How the senior will handle situations where they are tempted to smoke.
There are a variety of resources and support groups to help your senior loved one quit smoking.
– Your senior loved one may want to talk to a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional about quitting smoking.
– Join a support group for people who are trying to quit smoking.
– Nicotine replacement products, such as a patch, gum, lozenge, or inhaler, to help them quit.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person quits smoking, he or she will likely experience withdrawal symptoms, which may make it more difficult to quit. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:
– Inability to concentrate, relax, sleep, eat, and feel pleasure.
– Irritability, restlessness
Tips to help your senior loved one cope with withdrawal symptoms:
– Make sure the senior exercises.
-Be supportive of their decision to quit smoking.
-Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
-Hiring elder care providers to support quitting smoking.
There are many reasons to help your senior loved one quit smoking. If you are looking for more information on how elder care can help your senior, please contact us today.