Caregivers Role in Pain Management of the Elderly

Pain management is a leading concern among Americans age 65 and older. Chronic pain is widespread, especially in the elderly and it affects the quality of life in a negative way. Two of the most common types of pain are musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain. Musculoskeletal pain develops from the muscles, bones, or joints. On the other hand, Neuropathic pain comes from the body’s nervous system such as numbness and tingling.

Acute or mild pain can be managed at home with over-the-counter medication or using ice or heat compress. For severe and persistent pain, one should see a health care provider to help determine the root cause and create a pain management plan. This may include massage, exercise, physical therapy, acupuncture, or medication. Finding the right treatment for pain can be an ongoing challenge. There are often varying conditions that can make it difficult for patients and their caregivers.

Here are a few things to consider as you help friends, family, and loved ones living with pain.

1. Encourage Verbalization of Pain
The first step in offering care to someone who is suffering is believing in his or her pain. In addition to verbal cues, look for other indications including facial expressions, labored breathing, atypical body movements, and emotional and behavioral changes. Pain is subjective and describing the pain as one experiences it can be difficult. One way to encourage the elderly to report pain is through investigating by asking them to explain it. Ask how long they’ve been in pain and how it is affecting their ADLs. They should talk about pain frequency, duration, and how it impacts their daily activities and relationships with others.

2. Help reach out to Healthcare providers
Pain can put a remarkable strain on family relationships. This is due to a lack of understanding as pain is only experienced by the one complaining about it. They often let those around them know about their situation and ask for support, which commonly would be the caregivers assigned to them. Make sure that they talk to their healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen.

3. Help Find Meaning and Sense of Purpose in Life
As pain limits one’s abilities. boredom or depression happens often. Some people can find positive purpose by becoming experts on pain and illness and advocating overcoming this. They might also find new home-based hobbies or interests, and use their free time to strengthen ties with family. Whatever path is taken, a positive outlook, in spite of their pain, can lead to a more meaningful life. Help them look for the purpose of their existence.

4. Let them accept pain and take control of their Life
Everyone experiences pain, one way or another. This is something we all need to accept. As caregivers, let them be compassionate with themselves and allow themselves adequate time for this. Some people also maintain control by establishing a regular, daily routine that starts from the moment they get out of bed and continues throughout the day. Remember that pain is personal, as is the way they and their medical team treat it. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with them and look for other avenues of support – like joining a support group or keeping their families involve with their care plan.

5. Be optimistic
Pain can bring about negative emotions like anxiety. You may be able to help in setting attainable goals; instead of hoping for less pain, aim for periods of less pain. There is evidence that those who manage to maintain a more optimistic outlook seem to do better.

Love Thy Neighbor Home Care Services offers personal care which includes pain management. Our team is composed of experienced and compassionate caregivers of older adults. Feel free to send us a message or comment down below should you need more information about us.

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