Strategies for Helping an Older Parent Give Up Smoking

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Smoking is something nearly 35 million Americans still do, according to the CDC. If you’re caring for a senior loved one who smokes, take comfort in knowing it’s never too late to quit. Accomplishing this goal can be challenging, even if your loved one is well aware of the many health risks associated with this habit. But there are things you can do to help your loved one quit smoking.

Make Sure Your Loved One Is on Board

First of all, you’ll have better luck helping your loved one quit smoking if he or she is willing to at least give it a try. Otherwise, you’ll just be fighting an uphill battle if he or she has no interest in quitting. Once you get your loved one on board, explore the additional steps discussed below to make the efforts more likely to be successful.

Change Your Loved One’s Routine

Smokers often habitually smoke at certain points throughout the day, such as when watching TV, after meals, and during social situations. If this is what your loved one does, adjust his or her routine so he or she isn’t as tempted to smoke. For instance, you might suggest going for a casual walk together after meals so your loved one isn’t tempted to reach for a cigarette.

Remove Potential Obstacles

Reduce the temptation to default to old habits by going through your loved one’s home to remove potential obstacles and temptations, such as ashtrays that are placed on end tables and coffee tables. Other smoking-related obstacles to consider removing include:

• Smoking accessories, such as matches, lighters, and cigarette cases
• Extra packs of cigarettes your loved one may have stashed away
• Anything that smells like cigarette smoke, since such items could trigger the desire to smoke

A home caregiver can be a fantastic source of encouragement and support for a senior who’s trying to kick the smoking habit. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. Palm Desert families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Direct Your Loved One to New Activities

Seniors sometimes smoke to relax or simply pass the time. Reduce your loved one’s risk of picking up the smoking habit again by directing him or her to other activities that fill his or her time. For instance, you might help your loved one start a new hobby, learn new skills, or dive into crafts or art-based projects.

If your parent needs transportation to social activities or a companion to enjoy hobbies and games with at home, a home caregiver can be a wonderful asset. For families living in Palm Desert, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Help Your Loved One Find Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress

Another common reason seniors smoke is to relieve stress. If this is something your loved one tends to do, steer him or her toward healthy stress relief options, such as:

• Walking and other forms of light aerobic exercise
• Gentle disciplines such as yoga and tai chi that focus on mind-body stability
• Deep breathing and meditation

Get Backup

Turn to other people you know your loved one trusts to further encourage him or her to stick with the effort to quit smoking. This support team may include your loved one’s doctor, close friends, and other family members.

Keep Your Loved One Motivated

Whether your loved one prefers to gradually quit by transitioning to a patch or other nicotine replacement product or chooses the cold turkey method, he or she will appreciate getting some extra encouragement to stay motivated. You can motivate your loved one by:

• Celebrating milestones, such as going a month and then six months without smoking
• Sharing quick facts (e.g., getting past the three-month mark reduces the risk of heart disease)
• Leaving encouraging notes and offering verbal praise

If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (760) 345-0001.


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