There are more than 4 million elderly adults in the United States that smoke. While most people know that smoking is not good for their health, they still have a difficult time quitting. Many seniors are under the false impression that they are too old to quit, or that quitting won’t make a difference in their health after so many decades of smoking. However, scientific research backs up the claim that quitting smoking at any age provides significant and almost immediate health benefits.
For elderly smokers, there’s no excuse to give up on improving their health just because of age. When it comes to health and wellness, it is never too late for elderly adults to quit smoking. Family caregivers can definitely support their aging relatives in their goal to quit smoking.
How Does Smoking Affect Seniors?
There are few things more harmful to the body at any age than smoking. Elderly care is hard enough because aging adults are more at risk for disease and illness, but smoking amplifies existing problems and can create new ones. Ill health from smoking has a much greater impact in seniors because their bodies aren’t as capable of resisting the damaging effects.
Some of the health issues that result from smoking become even more serious for elderly smokers. Examples include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, respiratory infections, respiratory damage, weakened immune system, damage to throat and eyes, and reduced circulation. Of course, the dangers of secondhand smoke are always present for family caregivers, friends, and home care aides as well. There’s no doubt that smoking is hard to give up, but seniors can dramatically improve their health and reduce the risk of developing serious diseases if they do.
Benefits to Quitting, Even for Seniors.
There really are health benefits, both immediate and long-term, for elderly adults that decide to quit smoking after decades of the habit. Studies show that within days of quitting, the body starts to rebound from some of the damage that smoking causes. In just a few weeks, seniors notice their breathing has improved and their sense of taste and smell sharpens.
Studies also show that in the months and years following the last cigarette, an elderly person’s risk of developing cancer and heart disease drops. For example, after just one year of no smoking, an elderly person’s risk of heart disease cuts in half. Seniors that successfully quit smoking can increase their life expectancy by several years, according to medical experts.
While it’s true that smoking is difficult to give up no matter the age, it’s quite possible. Elderly adults need a treatment plan from their doctor, lots of support from family members, and the desire to kick the habit once and for all. The incentive is better health and a higher quality of life, which is enough to motivate many elderly adults to finally quit.
If you or someone you know needs elderly care in St. Cloud, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.
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