Pain Management For Seniors
September is Pain Awareness Month. During this time, numerous organizations come together to raise awareness about pain and ways to manage it.
This campaign began in 2001 with the ACPA founded Partners for Understanding Pain. With the support of 80 organizations that included the NAACP, professionals in the health care field, and various consumer groups, September became Pain Awareness Month.
Ways To Get Involved in Pain Awareness Month
Many struggle daily with a form of pain but may lack the resources or knowledge to manage it or get the necessary help.
Although pain is a universal concept and something that everybody can understand, there is still a lot to learn about it.
The best way to promote pain awareness and management is getting involved. There are many things you can do, such as:
- Encouraging others to learn about Pain Awareness Month
- Discussing your pain with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Inform local government officials and other leaders in your community that September is Pain Awareness Month
- Contact your local news agency or media outlet and inquire about a story about Pain Awareness Month
- Donate to the ACPA or other organizations working to promote pain awareness
- Practice self-care and work to take care of your health throughout the month.
The Importance Of Pain Management For Seniors
Chronic pain is the most common condition that patients come to
healthcare providers with, especially among older adults 65 and above.
It’s a common belief that pain is just a part of growing old. While this may be the case for some conditions like osteoarthritis, many seniors experience pain that is more than natural wear and tear on the body.
There are things that seniors can do to alleviate their distress without resorting to medical mediation.
Physical therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture can do wonders for alleviating some of the discomfort caused by issues like osteoarthritis.
Older adults need to get on top of managing their pain, and not just because of the limits it puts on them by curbing their mobility and independence.
The inhibitions imposed from chronic pain can also have emotional effects that may be just as harmful as the physical ones.
Pain severely impacts the quality of life, especially for aging adults. It can interrupt sleep, impair memory and cognitive functioning, and lead to bad moods.
Challenges Facing Older Adults With Pain
Several things might make getting the right help all the more challenging for older adults.
Firstly, those living on low- or fixed-incomes might not be able to afford repeatedly visits to the doctor, or the cost of transportation or subsequent medication.
Veterans Affairs (VA) recently examined some of the issues seniors faced when seeking pain assessment from primary care providers in VA and non-VA settings [i]:
- Inadequate education and training
- Inadequate consultant support
- Psychosocial complications
- Time restraints
- Doubt about pain and symptoms
- Limitations in the system
On the other hand, some seniors might have fears that talking about their pain might lead to undesired tests, discovery or diagnosis of a disease like cancer, or an unwanted prescription.
Ways To Manage Pain
Factors such as a poor diet, smoking, poor sleep, and others can also exasperate the effects of physical discomfort.
In addition, while moving while in pain is uncomfortable, a sedentary lifestyle can make things worse.
Therefore, it’s important to try and exercise, performing low-impact workouts, walking, or trying to improve balance. It will go a long way toward promoting health and well-being.
Other than taking medication to handle their symptoms, seniors should try incorporating foods that benefit pain management.
Salmon, coffee, and turmeric are just three things that can help make a difference and improve well-being.
It’s understandable why some would prefer not to take medication for pain management. Hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, cold laser treatment, and TENS units are just a few options seniors have to treat their discomfort without prescription drugs.
MeetCaregivers Can Help
We provide qualified professionals so you can receive the quality of life and well-being you deserve.
If you struggle with mobility because of chronic pain, let us help you regain your independence. We assist with transportation to appointments, errands, or even just helping you get around your home.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-541-1136.
Read our post about hiring through MeetCaregivers and reach out if you are interested in learning more about our services.
We update our blog every Monday, so check in regularly to find new and helpful information about senior care.
[i] Lincoln, et al. US Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Connecticut Healthcare System Survey.