Why Do Older Adults Resist Giving Up Their Car Keys?

You’ve had “the talk” with your aging parent about driving and that it’s time to give up the car keys. You’ve had “the talk” a few times and it always resulted in angry shouting with them accusing you of trying to control their lives or reminding you

that they are the parent and you are their child.


It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s just too stressful to think about that conversation again. But, you know it must be done.


Before you have the next discussion with your parent, it’s important that you understand why they’re so resistant to giving up driving.


The first thing to understand is that an older adult will be offended, defensive, or angry when they’re asked to stop driving because being able to drive a vehicle is a major symbol of independence and control. Remember, your aging parent is dealing with a loss of control in many areas of their life including health, and being asked to give up driving is a direct blow to their freedom of movement and a reminder to them that they are no longer able to completely care for themselves. This is a direct blow to their self-esteem.


Another reason they may be resistant is that they are unwilling to admit that anything is wrong. Fighting the aging process is common and sometimes it is simply a refusal to admit that the changes they are experiencing are real and affect the people around them. When in reality, they know what is happening and are too frightened or angry to deal with it. If this is the case, it may be a good time to contact a social worker or a geriatric care manager. Talk with someone who can help you to help your aging parent.


And finally, another reason your parent is resisting giving up the keys might be practicality. They are active and socialize regularly with a friend in weekly outings, daily lunches, or doctor and therapy appointments that get scheduled and rescheduled.


Now that you understand a bit of what your aging parent is feeling you can be more patient and understanding the next time you broach the subject with them. Be prepared for these objections, and more, by doing a bit of research, talking with friends who have had the same situation with their aging parents, or a social worker. Be prepared to listen fully to their concerns and to respond so they know you understand their concerns.


Medicare’s Extra Help Program. Also referred to as Low Income Subsidy (LIS), the Medicare Part D Extra Help program, administered by the Social Security Administration, was created to help people with limited incomes pay for prescription drugs.


Eligible beneficiaries who have limited income may qualify for a government program that helps pay for Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. Medicare beneficiaries receiving the low-income subsidy (LIS) get assistance in paying for their Part D monthly premium, annual deductible, coinsurance, and copayments.


To qualify for extra help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs in 2018, your annual income must be limited to $18,210 for an individual ($24,690 for a married couple living together).


Apply for Extra Help online (SSA-i1020) in English or Español, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to apply over the phone or to request an original paper application (English or Español), or apply at your local Social Security office.


For more information contact Helen Justice at helenjusticegcm@gmail.com

When Do You Have “The Talk” About Driving?


Dents on the car that can’t be explained.


Being startled when the tires run onto the warning strips when driving on the highway.


Needing to be reminded about the stop sign in the neighborhood.


Braking too hard and fast because of not slowing down soon enough when in traffic.


All are signs that your elderly mother or father is ready for “the talk” about driving.


If you have concerns about your parent’s safety when driving, then you need to have a conversation about it. Don’t put it off until later. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It’s your parent and they always knew best, didn’t they? In this case, it’s your turn to know best and step up to protect them, and others, on the road.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 40 million senior drivers on our nation’s roads. If no one speaks with these drivers, to caution them about their reduced driving skills or even going so far as to take away their keys, the number of crashes will increase as will the number of fatalities.


How to have The Talk?

If you’re a bit nervous about approaching your parent, it’s understandable. In the US, getting a driver’s license and having your own vehicle is a well-known sign of independence. And to consider taking away that independence is a bit daunting. One thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a conversation solely about not driving, but is about the transfer of power – from the parent to the son or daughter. That is one reason it is such a difficult conversation to have. But it needs to be done for the safety and well-being of not only your parent but also for the unsuspecting drivers that share the road with your parent. Here are some tips you may find helpful:


Acknowledge that this is difficult for your parent. You can begin the conversation with something like “Dad, I know this will be hard for you to hear, but we really do need to talk about your driving”. Then you can refer to the latest incident or sign you are aware of and share your thoughts, leading to the very real possibility of accidents worse than minor fender benders or bumps.


Have the conversation privately. This isn’t the time to have a family meeting because your parent will think you are “ganging up” on him. It also isn’t an intervention or really a major issue. If you approach it as a son or daughter showing concern for the safety and well-being of your parent, it will go a long way toward making sure the conversation stays on track and is productive.


Avoid confrontation. This isn’t about accusing your parent of anything or assuming that you will be taking away the keys. It is about you bringing up concerns and the possibilities of unsafe driving habits. Also, focus on the capabilities your parent has, not his age or any illnesses he may have had. Stick to factual rather than emotional examples, which is why it is important for you to have actual incidences to refer to. Stay calm and don’t raise your voice and especially don’t get pulled into unrelated issues.


Know when to stop the conversation. The moment it seems that you’re just not getting through to your parent, stop. Begin the conversation again another day. There is no point in pushing the issue at this point.


For most people, this conversation about your parent’s driving is a difficult one. No matter how difficult it may be, it’s important that you have it and that you initiate it. Your parent could be having thoughts about needing to stop driving but isn’t ready to address the issue on their own. Your help can keep your parent, and others, safer on the road.

Safety Checklist for the Aging Senior

Staying home as you age is a wonderful thing. You’re surrounded by familiar objects and memories and overall are very comfortable in your own space. Something to remember, though, is that you are still aging. And with age comes physical changes that you can prepare yourself for, and you can prepare your home for as well. Some of these physical changes include eyesight, balance, and reduced strength in your arms and legs.


Falls are one of the top reasons why seniors are hospitalized or placed in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. An alarming statistic is this one:


the National Council on Aging says that every 11 seconds an adult over the age of 65 will have a fall that leads to hospitalization.


Knowing this, you can prevent a fall and becoming a statistic yourself by checking for hazards in your home, and then asking a friend or caregiver to check for hazards.


Here is a safety checklist to help you keep your home, and yourself, safe:



  • Remove electrical cords or reroute them so that they run along the baseboard.
  • Clear walking areas – hallways, doorways, foyers – of objects that can be bumped into or tripped over.
  • Repair loose rugs by tacking them down.
  • Remove loose rugs.
  • Always be conscious of spills and wipe them up as quickly as possible.



  • Organize your utensils and small appliances to reduce clutter.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and cabinets often, throwing away expired foods.
  • Store pots and pans at waist level.
  • Store rags, washcloths, dishtowels away from stovetops.



  • If you smoke, don’t smoke in bed or when you are tired.
  • Replace shoes with slippery leather or vinyl soles with those that have a non-slip
  • Use daily pill dispensers to avoid missing pills or overdosing.
  • If daily tasks are getting to be too much, hire a professional home care aide.


Regular Home Maintenance

  • Check for loose light bulbs that need to be tightened.
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs.
  • Reduce the temperature of the water heater to 120 F or below.
  • Check for leaky faucets.
  • Label faucets with red tape (hot) and blue tape (cold).
  • Purchase small appliances that have an automatic shut off feature, such as an iron or water kettle.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets.


Safety Installations

  • Add grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet.
  • Place a non-slip mat in the shower, on all steps, and at the bottom of a series of steps or stairs.
  • Install chair railing in the hallway.
  • Check indoor and outdoor railings for stability, replace if loose.
  • Consider installing an electric stairlift if walking up the stairs is too difficult.
  • Add lighting to dimly lit areas.
  • Add motion sensor lighting in the bathroom and hallways.


In-Home Care vs. Home Health Care

As a Geriatric Care Manager, I have had the privilege of having first-hand conversations with many seniors and their family members. I know the issues that are top of mind for seniors and I know the recurring questions about options available to them as they age and experience health issues. One question in particular that I am asked on a regular basis is “what is the difference between “home care” “in-home care” and “home healthcare”?  It’s important to understand the difference because unless medical care is provided, the service may not be covered in part by Medicare.


In-Home Care aka Home Care

In-home care is non-medical companion and ‘help around the house’ care. When an aging adult isn’t able to keep up with cleaning, shopping, cooking, paying bills, or their own transportation, that is the situation that calls for In-home care. Professional caregivers provide a variety of care that ranges from helping with activities of daily life to companionship.


For example, Carol is a 76-year-old who just recently came home from the hospital after being treated for an infection. She owns her own home, has her own vehicle, but is sent home with oxygen, multiple medications to be taken throughout the day, and orders to not drive or do anything strenuous for the next 30 days. A home care aide is hired to visit Carol’s home every day for 4 hours between 10 am and 2 pm. During this time the aide takes care of the housekeeping by vacuuming, washing dishes, dusting, and wiping down surfaces in the kitchen and bath. The aide will check Carol’s medication list and daily pill dispenser to make sure she’s taken the medication that day. Also, the aide will drive Carol to her appointments and to the store, helping her with her shopping needs. If needed, the aide will prepare nutritious meals and store them in the refrigerator for Carol to microwave or cook on the stove. These non-medical, non-clinical services ensure that household needs are covered and offer Carol a friendly social connection while she is recuperating at home.


These same services are offered to aging seniors who aren’t ready to leave their homes but aren’t able to handle all of the daily living tasks themselves. Another positive aspect is that the aide will often spend a bit of social time with the senior, playing games and watching movies.


Home healthcare

Home healthcare providers, also known as home health aides, have some level of formal medical training and will have passed competency tests. Many will have credentials like a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapist (OT).


Home healthcare includes a wide range of services that can be done in the home, some of which include IVs and injections, monitoring of a health condition, wound care, and patient education. The objective is to treat the illness or injury and helping the patient get better so they can return to independent living and self-sufficiency.


For example, Mike is 82 years old and quite active in his community and physically with a running club and a bicycle club. During a running race, he tripped and twisted his knee, aggravating an existing condition and hastening the need for knee replacement surgery. After surgery, he spent a week at the rehab center and was released to be home as long as he hired a home healthcare service to tend to his knee, provide physical therapy, and help wean him off pain medications.


In order for Medicare or Medicaid to cover the costs of a home healthcare service provider, a doctor must certify that the service is needed and the home healthcare agency must be Medicare-certified and be the coordinator of care.  This type of care is perfect for the aging senior (or anyone for that matter) who needs intermittent nursing care.


Care Costs Add Up

Whether the aging senior needs help with day-to-day tasks or actual nursing care at home, these costs add up. And they add up quickly. It’s important that you understand the differences in care and what services are actually needed so you can do a bit of research and prepare the budget for the costs.

Creative Living Options for Aging Seniors

Growing older doesn’t have to mean living alone. Many aging seniors fear the day when they must consider selling their home and property and moving into a sterile environment. Some express fear that they will be ignored, while others fear they will lose their independence. And some express fear of moving to a “senior community” based on a lifestyle they don’t have such as golf or tennis. If the aging senior is healthy and active, but is finding the care and maintenance of the property to be a bit too much to handle, or is having difficulty with the financial responsibilities of keeping their property, there are options you may not have considered. Here are some creative living options for aging seniors:


Co-Housing 1. This is an option many aren’t aware of because it isn’t typical or considered traditional, yet. Co-housing is when each person purchases a residence — be it an apartment, townhouse or a single-family house — that has everything a typical residence would have (i.e., a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom). However, the residences are linked to a shared space, such as a yard and gardens, and a large common room, dining area, and kitchen that can accommodate group meals or gatherings. The point of co-housing is community, while maintaining a level of independence. Current co-housing arrangements are inter-generational and don’t involve staff-provided services, but some can be age-specific. For the aging senior capable of independent living but wanting to be a part of a tight community, this is an excellent option to consider.


Co-Housing 2. Another form of Co-housing is the intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house or community center, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.


Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Homeowners Association type structure. Community activities include regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Co-housing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool. There is a Co-housing Association of the United States that has a website. For more information about this type of housing for aging seniors, learn more here – Cohousing Association


Share Housing. Just as when young people share living spaces to save money, the same is being done with aging seniors. Often, there is a widow or widower who is fully capable of living independently, has a large home and doesn’t want to leave it. So, they offer the extra bedrooms to those in the same age range with the arrangement being rent plus agreed upon chore responsibilities. In other cases, it’s a matter of two senior aged friends deciding to sell their respective properties and purchase a single property as co-owners, sharing all expenses related the maintenance and upkeep of the property.


As you can see, for aging seniors who don’t need medical monitoring or personal care assistance, but do need to be with others who will watch out for them, these options are available and worth taking a closer look.

Tips for Staying Healthy as You Age

The longer we can have good health, the better! This includes our mental and emotional health as well as our physical health.


Our physical health is our responsibility and as we age it becomes more important for us to understand that we can and do have some control over our health. This isn’t to say that we can erase years worth of bad habits, but it does mean we can do something now about how our bodies age from this point forward.


To begin, it’s important that we understand our mental and emotional well-being as we cope with the changes that aging brings. Coping with change is difficult, no matter how old we are. And coping skills are important as we experience major life changes. The challenge for aging adults is that we experience a large number of changes and transitions that include the loss of our parents, the loss of friends and loved ones, declining health, loss of independence, children that have moved away. These emotionally charged experiences can have a negative effect on our physical health. There are ways we can maintain our physical and emotional health so that we can live our lives to the fullest, no matter what age we are.


As we pass through milestone ages such as 70, 80, and 90, we can do so with grace and ease if we view each milestone as a phase for growth and learning new things. Much like chapters in a book, these milestones are where we connect with new people, become active in our community on a different level, and begin seeing how our life experiences can be helpful to young people and loved ones.


Yes, this attitude is possible. First, though, we must address the anxiety and fear that often fills us when we have unanswered questions. Questions such as:

  • How will I take care of myself late in life?
  • What if I lose my spouse?
  • What is going to happen to mind?


Many of these fears come from myths about aging, are exaggerated by the media, or a misunderstanding of someone else’s experience. The truth is that we are always much stronger and more resilient than we think we are.


Tips for Coping


Gratitude. While you are experiencing loss it can be difficult to see that there are things to be grateful for. Those things include what you have in your life today. Look at the things you are taking for granted and then imagine life without them. Imagine someone who doesn’t have these things and that they believe you’re fortunate. Now, look at the things you are taking for granted and view them as something to be grateful for. Be glad that you have these things in your life.


Express your feelings. As we get older, many believe that expressing feelings, showing emotions, is inappropriate or weak. But the reality is that it is part of communicating with others and how we connect with others. By not expressing how you feel about something you are risking having to deal with stronger emotions like anger, resentment, and depression. And these stronger emotions have a negative effect on our physical health. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to express how you feel about something. There are healthy ways to do this and some include talking to a close friend, writing in a journal, having a conversation with a small group of friends.


Accept the things you cannot change. So much of what occurs in life is beyond our control. Recognizing this and focusing on what we can control and how we respond to problems and challenges is an excellent way to face our limitations with dignity and proceed with our daily life with a positive attitude.


Be quick to respond and take action. Sometimes a challenge or problem seems too big to handle and so we try to ignore it or put off addressing it until another day. But that doesn’t help at all. It actually makes the problem worse by adding our anxiety to the issue when we finally address it. Instead, look at the problem and then look at what needs to be done to solve it. Then break down the solution into small steps, something to be done each day. This reduces the anxiety and puts us on the path of living in the solution versus being overwhelmed by a problem.


Staying healthy as we age is easier than we think. It’s a matter of recognizing that we can do something and then doing it. The tips shared are just the beginning and coming up with our own tips for staying healthy is a great way to take responsibility for ourselves.

Dealing With Reduced Spending Power As A Senior

Economic recessions and recoveries affect retirement and savings accounts.


Inflation increases daily living expenses.


Whether or not frugal habits are in place, those who are aging and entering the elderly population experience reduced spending power – they have less to spend and must focus on needs first over wants.


This can be stressful for not only the elderly but also for their family and friends who want to enjoy the time they spend with each other.


Frugal habits honed during the last 50 years will make for an easier transition into the senior phase of life. But, for those who didn’t form those habits, who didn’t heed the words of money and financial experts over the years, there are things that can be done now to make the best use of the spending power they have. The following list is also a good reference for those who want to make suggestions to the senior member of their family:


1. Shop for new Medicare coverage. Whether the senior person does it or a family member, it is a mistake to assume that current Medicare coverage is actually a good deal. Changes to the Medicare program and offerings are made annually and it is a good idea to review the coverage in place, and then compare it to the new coverage available.


2. Shop for groceries and hard goods once a week, or even once a month if possible. Shop with a list and save any impulse purchases as an item on the list for the next shopping trip. This way, you recognize that you want to purchase something and rather than saying “no”, you simply put it on the list for the next trip. Then, when creating the list for the next shopping trip you can decide whether or not that purchase is really something you want or need.


3. Bargain or ask for lower interest rates. If you currently have debt, there is no harm in asking the lender for better interest rates. The worst that can happen is they say “no”. The best that can happen is that they say they can reduce your interest rate.


4. Look at an annual payment, if possible. Many purchases set on a monthly payment plan can be paid on an annual basis and with significant savings – often stated as “Pay annually and get 1 month free” or “Pay annually and save 15%”. Look over the services and products you are currently paying for on a monthly basis and ask if the annual payment will save you money.


5. Share on the grocery shopping. When you’re creating your grocery list, ask a neighbor or friend to share theirs with you and compare. If you have many similar items on the list, consider shopping together and purchasing in bulk or larger sizes then splitting the purchase when you get home. Bulk pricing, volume pricing, larger size pricing is always less expensive than single serve size.


6. Stop purchasing movies and books. Your local library is an excellent source for entertainment, lending movies in various formats as well as books via eBooks (Kindle format). Call or visit your local library and ask if they offer digital lending and DVD lending.


7. Unplug devices you aren’t using. Your electric bill will show a measurable decrease by simply unplugging appliances and devices you aren’t using. Every appliance and digital device that is plugged in uses electricity. Albeit a small amount, but when you unplug for a month you will see that the small amount from each adds up.


8. Generic is good. Generic labels on food and soft good items are often equal in quality to brand name items.


9. Drink water. Replace your store-bought juice and soda with water from your tap and you will see significant savings.


10. Barter. The internet is an excellent place to find someone willing to trade an appliance or tool or even labor for something you are willing to exchange. Try Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and Yahoo Freecycle. But also consider your network of friends and neighbors and store owners. Often it’s a matter of asking if the person is willing to exchange a product or service for something you have to trade.

Create a Care Plan Before You Need It

So many people, middle-aged and senior, don’t understand that having a care plan in place before you need it can save a lot of time, money, and heartache. If you don’t have the conversation with your aging parents or members of your care team now, you will cause yourself and your aging parents undue stress and financial hardship when the need for a care plan arises.

A care plan is a documented set of instructions of how you want to be taken care of as you age and as you transition from independent home life to possibly an assisted living facility, through to the handling of your funeral arrangements. Of course, this applies to anyone in your family as well. If you are the adult child that is or will be responsible for the care of your aging parents, the care plan will make the needs and wants of your parents clear and easy to follow.

Where do you begin?

Here are some initial questions to help you get focused so you can create your own care plan or your aging parents’ care plan:

Are there any activities or hobbies you would like to pursue or continue?

Is socializing with friends and family important to you?

Would you like to travel?

Do you want to remain at home as long as possible? If so, would you hire in-home care at some point?

Would you want someone in the family to be your full-time caregiver?

How do you feel about moving to Assisted Living or a Nursing Home?

What are your values and beliefs regarding your quality of life and longevity?

Do you have a living will, advance directive or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

In case someone needs to make medical decisions on your behalf, who would you feel most comfortable appointing? What about financial decisions?

Have you designated someone as a medical and/or financial Power of Attorney?

What are your wishes for final arrangements once you are gone?

Having answered those questions, it’s now time to look at who will be on the care team. If you are forming a care team for your aging parent it is vital that you have their input and support for each member selected. These are the people they will be interacting with, and more importantly, who they will be trusting to take care of their homes, their belongings, their medical care, their financial accounts, and more.

Members of the care team may include:

• Family

• Friends and neighbors

• Home care and home health care professionals

• Adult day care facility

• Geriatric care manager

• Elder law attorney

• Social worker

• Physicians (primary care physician and specialists)

• Financial planners

Taking the time now to get the people and paperwork in place ensures that you, and your aging parents, are prepared for the day when the care team is called into action.

Happy Heart Month

Happy Heart Health Month!

February is here and Valentines is around the corner. In celebration of the heart theme, let’s all take a moment and do something to help out our own heart’s health. Take care of you’re heart and it will take care of you!

Reposted from www.goredforwomen.org/

1. Get active

Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
What To Do

Start by learning the basics about fitness. Also, children need 60 minutes a day–every day–of physical activity, so find ways to workout with your kids to help ensure their heart health in addition to your own.

2. Control cholesterol

When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones, but when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke.
What To Do

Try these tips to lower cholesterol with diet and foods.

3. Eat better

Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases. If you are frequently skipping out on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life.
What To Do

Want more ways to eat better? Try these tips:

  • Track what you eat with a food diary
  • Eat vegetables and fruits
  • Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Cut back on added sugars and saturated fats

4. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Our body then kicks into injury-healing mode to repair these tears with scar tissue. But unfortunately, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can form into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries.
What To Do

To manage blood pressure, you should:

5. Lose weight

If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.
What To Do

Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to help you determine if you need to lose weight.

6. Reduce blood sugar

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Although diabetes is treatable and you can live a healthy life with this condition, even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, most people with diabetes die

from some form of heart or blood vessel disease.
What To Do

The following tips can all help reduce your blood sugar:

  • Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
  • Get regular physical activity! Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
  • Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you

7. Stop smoking

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Like a line of tumbling dominoes, one risk creates another. Blood clots and hardened arteries increase your risks for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health.
What To Do

Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it! Visit the American Heart Association’s Quit Smoking website for tools and resources.

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