Seniors Living with Chronic Pain – The number of North Americans who suffer from chronic pain annually is staggering!
A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimates the number of people who live with persistent pain — pain that lasts for more than 3 to 6 months — to be 100 million.
Unfortunately, seniors are far more likely than the average adult to be among those that suffer from it. Up to 88% of older adults report some form of chronic pain. But the good news is that older adults working with their healthcare provider can learn to manage their condition and live a full life in spite of pain, no matter what their age.
Seniors are more vulnerable to chronic pain for a number of reasons including greater joint and muscle wear and tear, the presence of other medical conditions, and a general decrease in activity levels. They are also more at risk for accidents that can lead to chronic pain.
About 20% of senior adults report taking pain medications several times per week, usually for joint or muscle related pain. The more common types of chronic pain seniors tend to have are:
As a caregiver, it’s important to know that dealing with chronic pain in seniors can be more challenging because it can be harder to diagnose and treat. Why? Well statistics show that older adults are less likely to be forthcoming about their pain when speaking with their doctors. This could be out of fear of potential illness, or because they do not want to seem vulnerable. Oftentimes seniors feel that pain comes with age, and that reporting it is unnecessary. Some may also have more trouble communicating their pain because of decreased hearing, compromised abilities associated with a stroke or even dementia. The result for many seniors is that it leaves them trying to cope with chronic pain unguided, and may also leave them open to anxiety and depression.
Falls among the senior population generally cause more damage and complications than they do among younger adults, too. Older adults who have chronic joint pain or muscle aches, especially in the legs, are 50% more prone to falling than seniors that don’t have it. This is bad news in general for seniors because as when you couple an injury from a fall with a persistent pain condition, there is a longer recovery period and a return to a potentially lower quality of life.
For seniors that need a little extra help living with chronic pain, Comfort Keepers caregivers can help with encouragement, support and assistance. And, caregivers can encourage overall health through meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and activities. Our custom care plans focus on physical and mental health and wellness activities. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.
To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your the Comfort Keepers Edmonton location today.
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