While it’s normal for people to have some aches and pains occasionally, there are plenty of adults who live with chronic pain day in and day out. Elderly adults frequently struggle with chronic pain because they are more likely to have illnesses, disease, surgery, and age-related conditions that trigger it. September is Pain Awareness Month, when health experts try to educate people of all ages about the latest in pain management and treatments.
Family caregivers with elderly loved ones in pain can do a lot to get their aging loved one to a doctor to discuss pain management and turn their daily life from painful to pain-free.
What is Chronic Pain in Seniors?
Pain is that awful sensory experience that relates to damage in the body. It can be triggered by tissue damage, joint deterioration and internal workings that go wrong. Pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pain has a distinct cause (like a wound, infection or surgery) and generally lasts from a few weeks to two months. Chronic pain is ongoing, lasting at least three months and beyond. Without treatment, pain can affect almost every aspect of an elderly person’s life.
Common causes of pain in the elderly include muscle cramps, osteoarthritis, poor circulation, neuropathy, shingles, slip and fall trauma, diabetes, digestive issues, kidney stones, gall bladder stones, migraines, and cardiopulmonary issues. One big problem is that many seniors believe that pain is part of aging and won’t tell their family caregivers, home care providers, or doctors about what they are experiencing. When pain goes untreated, it can have serious effects on both the mind and the body.
Managing Pain in Elderly Adults.
Family caregivers and home care providers must get the elderly adult to a doctor for an initial assessment. The doctor will ask detailed questions about the pain, such as where it is, what it feels like, what time of day it is worst, and whether anything they do makes the pain better or worse. The doctor will also assess the pain in relation to any other symptoms to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Most doctors will prescribe some pain relief medication as that can be very effective for seniors. Other medical treatments might include injections or surgery. Doctors may also recommend they visit another expert, such as physical or occupational therapists to learn more about minimizing pain. Other compatible treatment options include massage therapy, acupuncture, and cognitive behavior therapy.
Family caregivers and home care providers can help the elderly adult at home by encouraging them to exercise by walking, doing yoga, tai chi or even stretching. A healthy diet, proper weight management, and avoiding alcohol and smoking can also contribute to successful pain management.
When done properly, seniors can dramatically reduce the level of pain they live with every day. With a combination of traditional and non-traditional methods, family caregivers and home care providers can see the aging adult get fine results with a comprehensive pain management program.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Bellmore, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.
In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.