Lara always thought that the aches and pains of old age were inevitable, so when her elderly Uncle Richard began avoiding activities and complaining of pain, she simply gave him some over-the-counter pain medication. However, when his senior care provider recommended that Lara make an appointment for her uncle to see about some pain management, she realized she had made a mistake in minimizing his concerns.
Elderly adults don’t have to live with untreated chronic pain because there are many different options available that can help them be more comfortable and reduce their suffering. Seniors are more likely to experience chronic pain due to age-related health issues, but they are also the least likely group to get treatment for pain. September is Pain Awareness Month, and there’s no better time for family caregivers to take a fresh approach to helping an elderly relative manage chronic pain.
Diagnosing Pain in Aging Relatives
Many elderly adults struggle with health-related issues such as disease and illness. Conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes, neuropathy, and the after-effects of a stroke can cause a lot of pain in their daily life. Similarly, trauma to the body can also result in pain, such as a slip and fall accident, broken bone, or surgery. It’s highly likely for an elderly adult to have two or more chronic conditions at any given time, many of which result in pain.
An elderly person’s body is also less equipped to deal with pain because it is usually slow to heal due to age. Also, seniors may not get all the benefits of pain medication because of circulation issues and interactions with other medication. Elderly adults are also more likely to be dehydrated, malnourished and sedentary, which also heightens pain levels. Family caregivers and senior care providers need to ask the right questions and also be watchful, so they can note when an aging adult is living with pain.
Treating Pain in Aging Relatives
Doctors need to take a careful approach to treating pain in elderly adults. Type and dosage of certain pain relievers can have a different impact on an elderly person’s body. Often, the doctors will start the elderly person on the lowest dose and increase if needed. Injections, topical medication and even surgery may also be needed for pain management.
Medication is not the only way to manage pain. Family caregivers and senior care advisors can also work with the elderly adult and physical therapists and occupational therapists. They can teach everyone about using heat or ice to control pain, helpful stretches, and other techniques. A healthy diet and regular activity makes the body stronger and more able to resist pain. Some alternative options may help, too, such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy and massage therapy. Finally, cognitive behavioral therapy can help elderly adults with the mental aspects of chronic pain.
Nobody wants to live every day with pain, but sometimes it is unavoidable. During Pain Awareness Month, it’s easier than ever to look at all the options that seniors can choose to help themselves, their family caregivers and their senior care providers manage that pain.
IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY IN HOME SENIOR CARE IN GARDEN CITY, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.
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