How to Support Your Loved One When She Quits Smoking
November 16 is the Great American Smokeout Day. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this day serves as a possible starting point for those who wish to kick the habit of smoking tobacco and begin a smoke-free life.
If you are providing care for a loved one who is a long-term smoker, you have seen the toll that smoking can take on her. From health issues to financial issues to cleanliness issues, smoking permeates every aspect of a person’s life, and not for the better. Most long-term smokers have tried quitting multiple times and find themselves getting frustrated over trying again, but along with that, most quitters found it took multiple attempts. This year may be the year your loved one quits successfully and completely.
As their loved one and caregiver, you can support them along this journey. You should also enlist others to be a part of their “cheer team,” such as other family members, friends, neighbors, and senior home care providers. All can rally alongside your loved one as she attempts to break free of the bonds of smoking.
But what can you specifically do? Here are five ways you can support your loved one as she begins her Great American Smokeout.
- Ask her what she’d like as you support her. Does she want you to check in multiple times a day? Or would she prefer you don’t constantly ask about it? Follow her lead to support her.
- Be ready to be ready. Your loved one may say she doesn’t want to check in much, but then calls you or texts you multiple times during those first few days for support. Be willing to be flexible, especially at the beginning. Talk to her senior care provider about providing additional support during that time to help over the first hump.
- Ask about more than just smoking. When you check-in, don’t make it all about the smoking. Ask about how her body is feeling. How is she emotionally getting by? What new things did she discover today since she’s not smoking (maybe she went on a new walk with her senior home care provider or tried a new recipe to distract herself)? Try to keep it upbeat and positive.
- Resist the urge to nag or shame. Even if she slips up, remind her about how proud you are that she’s trying and that you are there for her no matter how it goes.
- Offer more outings. Distraction is a big part of quitting. Your loved one needs her mind on something other than smoking, so plan more outings to keep her occupied. Ask her senior care provider to also help her find ways to get out of the home and her mind off of the nicotine.
Quitting is a journey, and often a long one that may not be a very straight or smooth path. It’ll have a lot of bumps and turns, but your loved one will have more success navigating it if she has your support.