Chronic Pain in Older Adults: How to Manage It Beyond Just Meds
As the extensive population of baby boomers continue to get older, and as our life span continues to be extended, our philosophy with respect to how to manage chronic pain has expanded accordingly. At present, more than 50% of those over age 65 complain of persistent pain—and for ¾ of those dealing with chronic pain, the pain displays in multiple locations—and it is unfavorably affecting their physical function and quality of life.
To control this pain, often, physicians depend on prescribed opiates, that could lead to contraindications with other medications and substances including alcohol, in addition to serious addiction concerns; and to top it all off, opiates are not shown to be successful long-term for chronic pain. As a matter of fact, they might actually worsen such conditions.
It’s important that you think about the full spectrum of senior needs when trying to manage chronic pain: physical, psychological, and social.
Communication between all healthcare providers is key, to make certain all prescribed medications are safe when taken together, and that treatment is tailored to deal with the specific needs of seniors, taking into account slowed metabolism, increased likelihood to utilize or abuse alcohol, physical inactivity, and more. Many older adults also find that it’s advantageous to engage in activities that transfer the focus away physical pain, including yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
The incidence of depression, dementia and anxiety is increased in the elderly. Exploring non-medicated care options including exercise, cognitive, behavioral, problem-solving, and interpersonal therapy is a great idea.
Isolation is a factor for many older adults, as a result of loss of family and friends, inability to operate a vehicle, illness, frailty, retirement, and more. Treating the requirement for increased socialization is an essential part of an older adult’s general wellbeing and health.
Thankfully, a skilled in-home caregiver, like those at CareWorks Health Services, can assist seniors physically, emotionally, and socially through a whole variety of customized care options, including:
- Medication reminders
- Picking up prescriptions
- Planning and preparing balanced meals
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments in addition to fun outings, fitness classes, and more
- Serving as a friendly companion to engage in favorite activities and alleviate loneliness and isolation
- And much more, based upon each senior’s unique needs
Call CareWorks Health Services now at (949) 859-4700 to request senior care resources pertaining to your senior loved one’s individual challenges, for additional details on our in-home care solutions, or to arrange a complimentary in-home consultation.