OC Elder Law
5 Tips For Managing Chronic Pain In The Elderly
It’s a sobering fact that more than fifty percent of senior citizens who live at home, and the majority that live in nursing homes experience chronic pain. This pain is often caused by long-term illness and often goes untreated. Without proper pain management, chronic pain can cause depression, loss of sleep, weight loss and social withdrawal.
When it comes to caring for the elderly, managing chronic pain is essential. From decreasing stress to increasing exercise and staying on a pain relief regimen, it pays to manage your pain and keep it at bay.
Here’s our list of 5 tips for managing chronic pain:
1. Manage Chronic Pain
One of the best ways to manage chronic pain in the elderly is through careful use of pain relief medication. Some seniors with chronic pain often stop taking their medication because the side effects are often less than desirable. Some medications interfere with others and seniors are forced to choose which combination of medications will bring the relief they need.
2. Work With a Doctor
Some elderly patients skip doctor’s appointments or simply stop taking their medication. Skipping doses means that the medicine doesn’t have a chance to build up in the body. This can potentially make the pain more intense. If your loved one is living with chronic pain, it is important that they take their medication as directed.
3. Try Pain Therapies
One of the ways that the elderly manage pain is through alternative pain therapies. Acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, and light exercise have been shown helpful in managing pain. Stress relief techniques like yoga, meditation, music therapy and hypnosis can also make dealing with the effects of chronic pain easier.
There have been studies that have shown that owning a pet can reduce stress and by extension, pain in seniors. If your senior loves animals, consider getting a dog or a cat to help with the calming process.
4. Pay Attention to Stress Reduction
Stress can make chronic pain worse, so caregivers should take extra care to reduce stress in the elderly. This can mean adapting their surroundings in order to make home life less stressful. For seniors who are dealing with chronic pain, avoid having a lot of people and noise in the household. If they have pain in their joints, allow them to live on the ground floor of their home so that they don’t have to climb stairs. Install railings on toilets and in the bath so that seniors don’t have to bend or stoop when bathing.
5. Enjoy a Healthy Diet
Foods that are high in sugar or salt content can cause inflammation, which makes pain worse. By eating a balanced diet, seniors can enjoy healthier lifestyles, which may in turn reduce chronic pain. A diet rich in fruits, whole grains and vegetables is one of the best defenses against painful inflammation. Avoid fried foods, those with high salt content and foods high in sugar to keep weight to a healthy level and reduce the incidences of inflammation and related pain.