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How to Quit Smoking After Doing It for Decades

Smoking is a notoriously difficult habit to quit, and it can be even more challenging for seniors because they have likely been smoking for most of their lives. However, people over 65 are at greater risk for complications that can result from smoking. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Redondo Beach, has a few tips to help your elderly loved one give up his or her cigarette habit.

Seek a Support System

The first step to quitting smoking is to develop a support system that encourages success. A family member or Redondo Beach caregiver can provide supportive encouragement, or your loved one may have a friend or neighbor who can encourage him or her to overcome the urge to smoke. A doctor is also an important part of your loved one’s support system. Before your loved one stops smoking, speak to a doctor to develop a plan for quitting and learn which nicotine replacements he or she can safely use to make quitting easier.

Find Distractions

Your loved one should also have a plan for overcoming the urge to smoke. Taking up a new hobby like gardening, doing crossword puzzles, or scrapbooking can help keep your loved one’s mind off smoking. Changing the daily routine to develop new habits is also a simple way your loved one can stay distracted from smoking. He or she can sit in a new chair, watch a new television program, or go outside after meals to incorporate fresh habits.

Know What to Expect

Quitting smoking can cause some physical symptoms, such as feelings of restlessness or irritability. Your loved one might not be able to sleep well for the first two weeks after quitting, and he or she may also have difficulty focusing on tasks. Allow your loved one plenty of time to overcome these common symptoms, and talk to the doctor if his or her symptoms are overwhelming. The doctor can prescribe medications that reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and make quitting easier.

The urge to smoke can last for several weeks to a few months. Your loved one can stay motivated to quit by saving the money he or she would normally spend on tobacco and using it for a special reward, or he or she can plan special outings to celebrate reaching milestones on the path to a nicotine free lifestyle. If your loved one is still experiencing the urge to smoke, encourage him or her to commit to quitting for a just a few minutes at a time until the urge passes.

After your loved one quits, there are many additional steps he or she can take to remain healthy. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to focus on lifestyle factors that promote longevity. We also offer comprehensive post-stroke, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s home care Redondo Beach seniors can rely on. For more information and to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Care Managers, call (310) 504-0506 today.