Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions suffered by adults, especially the elderly. This has become so prevalent that nearly 53% of adults over the age of 65 experience persistent pain due to old age or illness.
The elderly pain population presents many challenges for pain practitioners, doctors, nurses, and hospice care providers. At the very least, you need to have an understanding of the unique characteristics of chronic pain in the elderly as well as how to effectively assess and manage the pain to help them.
What is Chronic Pain?
An average person can experience and feel pain from time to time due to a number of reasons. Chronic pain is different. Instead of the sharp and fleeting quality of acute pain, chronic pain lasts for months or years. The feeling of pain comes from a series of messages that zip through the nervous system, which can last for a very long time. The worst part is that it may or may not be associated with an identifiable cause or damage.
Chronic Pain in Older Adults
As we age, it is increasingly common to suffer nerve pain associated with diabetes, cancer, or surgery. The pain the older adults experience can also result from a variety of chronic diseases, like congestive heart failure, renal disease, and pulmonary obstructions. Diseases often have an atypical presentation in older adults because of a variety of physiological changes due to aging.
Be that as it may, chronic pain isn’t a natural part of aging. It is merely a symptom of an illness or a result of the changes that the body undergoes as it ages. Many adults automatically assume that pain is all part of the aging process. The truth, however, is that many conditions that are common to the elderly have pain as one of its symptoms.
How Hospice Care Providers Address Chronic Pain in the Elderly
If you are a caregiver in your family for an elderly loved one, it’s essential to learn how hospice care and home health specialists manage and address pain for their patients. The best course of action is to always work collaboratively with your loved one’s healthcare providers. However, you can take steps to help reduce the pain your loved one experiences, giving them a better quality of life.
- Monitoring Medications – There are a lot of pain medications out there that are being prescribed for older adults. The best you can do is monitor your loved one’s intake of medicine and make sure they take any prescribed medications correctly.
- Making Adjustments at Home – Some household items can be of great help to enhance your loved one’s quality of life. Activities such as proper placement of pillows and cushions in their bed. Warm showers, heat pads, and hot water bottles can also come in handy. To reduce pain and inflammation, ice packs and cold compresses are also helpful.
- Provide Companionship – Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to make sure that your loved one is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Keeping them company with conversation and stimulating activities can also help distract them from the pain they’re feeling.
Chronic pain can greatly affect the quality of life for millions of seniors, which is why making it a priority is important when caring for a loved one. Consider these steps in helping your loved one improve their quality of life to help them cope with pain just a little better.
Bridge Home Home Health and Hospice is committed to helping your elderly loved ones and your family gets the level of care you deserve. With our patient-centered approach, we treat each patient as if they were a member of our family. If your loved ones require home assisted living in San Diego, our home health providers are more than ready to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about our services.