It can be a real challenge to quit smoking, and for elderly adults that have done it for several decades, it can seem impossible. Family members and their aging relatives may not even consider the option to quit smoking due to age. They think that since the elderly adult has smoked for most of their life, there’s no way they can quit now. The might also think that because of the prolonged smoking habit, their health won’t really improve if they quit. However, research shows that even elderly people can reap numerous health benefits when they quit smoking.
How Smoking Affects Elderly Adults
Smoking impacts a person’s health in numerous negative ways. In seniors, these health issues are even more serious due to age. The risk of developing respiratory issues, cancer, cardiovascular disease, weak bones, vision problems and more are all increased when someone smokes.
Other effects include a reduction in taste and smell, high blood pressure, headaches, skin issues and more. Of course, the cost of a smoking habit should also be considered a negative impact, as should secondhand smoke exposure for friends and family members.
Caring for a senior loved one is hard enough because seniors are more susceptible to health issues, but smoking complicates those. Family caregivers should try to convince their aging relative to give up smoking for both the immediate short-term health benefits as well as the long-term health benefits.
Short-Term Benefits For Seniors
When elderly adults manage to quit smoking, there are some health benefits that happen almost immediately as the body starts to recover. Within just a few hours to a day or so of that last cigarette, a person’s blood pressure goes down, body temperature starts to regulate better, and their heart rate slows down. Seniors also experience an increase in oxygen to the bloodstream.
In the following weeks, the body starts to regenerate nerve endings damaged by ears of smoking, and they will notice their senses of smell and taste improving. It’s not long before the lungs function better and increase their capacity. Seniors are able to take deeper breaths and have more stamina, thereby relaxing the bronchial tubes. Other short-term benefits include better circulation and expelling nicotine and nicotine byproducts from the body. Studies also show that an elderly person’s risk of a stroke or heart attack start dropping.
Long-term Benefits for Seniors
Over months and years, the health benefits for seniors who quit smoking continues to add up. After about three months, the lungs boost their overall function by as much as 30 percent and people notice a significant decrease in coughing, shortness of breath and sinus congestion. The risk of developing certain diseases like coronary heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reduce significantly and can be as much as half after one year of quitting.
Every year that the elderly person doesn’t smoke reduces the risk of many types of illnesses, from ulcers, cancer, stroke and heart disease significantly. After three years, an elderly person’s risk of a heart attack becomes the same as a never-smoker and they decrease the risk of lung cancer by as much as 70 percent. As elderly adults move forward without smoking, the health benefits really do add up.
Family caregivers that are concerned about their aging loved ones and providing the best care they can should really try to convince their relatives to stop smoking. The benefits of stopping are tremendous, no matter how long they’ve smoked or how old they are. While quitting will be difficult, it will surely be worth it to enjoy better health and a longer life.
While a senior is attempting to quit smoking, elderly care providers can offer assistance in the struggle. From keeping seniors active and their minds off of smoking, to preparing healthy meals and help with quality sleep, elderly care provides family caregivers with the confidence they need to take a break from the difficult task of helping their senior quit smoking.
For elderly care in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.