One of the primary senior health issues the elderly deal with is chronic pain. Many aging adults deal with pain on a daily basis and others experience pain at least once a week. Dealing with pain as we age is considered a normal part of growing older, but in far too many cases, chronic pain is ignored. However, by taking a proactive role in pain management, the elderly can continue to enjoy, and not just endure, life.
It is imperative to find treatment options that are effective at managing pain beause it affects numerous aspects of seniors’ lives. Pain can rob seniors of enjoyable experiences and can cause other conditions, such as depression. Chronic pain can lead to other injuries in seniors and increases their risk of falling, especially if the pain and soreness is located in joints.
However, chronic pain affects more than just physical well-being. It often lessens the quality of life a senior experiences and can also hamper their close relationships. Friends and family shift into roles of caregiving, which can end up being stressful for everyone involved. Assisted living communities can provide treatment options and senior care services for managing chronic pain. This can help the elderly continue to develop strong relationships and lead a healthy life.
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is temporary and many times the result of an injury. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is long lasting. Acute pain requires immediate treatment and should be taken seriously, but typically goes away naturally in a short time.
There are some characteristics to help you determine if your loved one is dealing with chronic pain. You may notice them grimacing, rubbing one particular joint or being limited in how they move. If a senior has dementia, it can be difficult to identify chronic pain. Since they may not always be able to tell you directly, some signs to look for might include:
One of the best ways to determine if an elderly adult is experiencing chronic pain is to ask them questions. This can help you locate the pain and determine the severity. Some adults are reluctant to discuss the types of discomfort they are feeling but with some gentle questioning, they may open up and explain the difficulties they are having. You can ask them questions like:
There are also some terms that can help describe different types of pain, such as stabbing, burning or aching. Having this type of discussion with your loved one can be of great assistance to a doctor or health care professional who is diagnosing chronic pain.