December 13, 2021
Did you know it’s estimated that 20.4% of adults in the United States live with chronic pain? Managing chronic pain on your own can be difficult enough, but it’s even trickier for people trying to assist in pain management for their elderly loved ones.
Chronic pain in older adults is a serious issue, but it’s one that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Chronic pain assistance at home is possible for your beloved seniors, you just have to know the right ways to handle it.
If you’re interested in the best pain control for seniors, we have some tips that can help ensure that your loved one is getting the help that they need.
Keep a Journal
You and your loved one won’t have trouble remembering tomorrow just how bad today’s pain was. Unfortunately, your memory when you visit the doctor in 3 weeks may not be as sharp.
For doctors to treat chronic pain, they need as much information about what’s happening as possible. Get in the habit of keeping a health journal that helps answer all of the doctor’s most pressing questions.
When you’re writing a health journal there’s no such thing as being too detailed. You can include nearly anything you want in yours, but be sure that you cover a few important areas:
- Time of day pain occurs
- Diet and exercise routine
- Current and past prescribed medications
- Time of day medication is taken
- Severity of pain
Stay in the Know
Get out of the habit of just organizing and giving out medication if you want to be an effective caretaker for your loved one. Take the time to educate yourself on what each medication is for and how it could affect them.
When you have a complete understanding of everything your loved one takes and how they’re meant to work, you’re able to make better-informed health care choices.
People tend to mistakenly believe that doctors are in constant communication with each other about their patients. Most of the time, doctors won’t know if any major change has occurred unless they hear it from the patients themselves.
See Signs of Pain
Pain doesn’t look or feel the same way for everyone. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your loved one is going to experience pain the same way each time.
Sometimes pain can be quick and come on in an intense sharp feeling. Other times it can feel like a dull ache that comes and goes. It’s even possible that your loved one may not be experiencing “pain”, but may have other signs that show their pain is getting worse like tingling or numbness.
Your loved one may try to hide how much pain they’re in. They may not want to concern you and be worried about putting on a brave face for their friends and family.
Look for signs of discomfort in your loved one. Heavy or shallow breathing, frequent movement or readjusting in a sitting position, or small sounds like whimpers and grunts can be a sign that they’re in pain.
Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one how they’re feeling if you see signs of pain. Once they see that you notice how they’re acting they may feel comfortable being honest about how they’re feeling.
Don’t Ignore Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can play an important role in healing from injuries and managing chronic pain. Despite its importance, it can often be one of the first things patients tend to ignore.
Since patients are in pain they’re reluctant to do any physical work, even though it plays an important role in healing. Others may not want to travel to physical therapy centers or could worry about the cost of treatments.
Talk to your loved one’s doctor about physical therapy exercises that can be done at home. Making sure your loved one is doing the right exercises at home can help keep them happy and healthy.
Remember, it’s okay to try new forms of physical therapy if your loved one doesn’t like the routine they already have. Yoga, swimming, and even walking can be helpful physical therapy.
Think About Pain Management Alternatives
People tend to look at medication and alternative pain management as an either/or situation. The truth is that both methods should be used together. Using both together can lead to much better outcomes than using one or the other.
Talk to your loved one and their doctor about alternative pain management techniques. Chiropractors, acupuncture, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques can do wonders for pain management.
Also, be sure to talk to a doctor about the best way to weave alternative pain management into their medication regiment. They may recommend that you change the time your loved one takes medication or could adjust the dosage.
Chronic Pain Assistance at Home the Right Way
When you’re looking for ways to manage chronic pain assistance at home, staying organized and in the know is important. Tracking symptoms, staying active, and identifying signs of trouble all play a critical role in managing pain.
Managing chronic pain can be a lot for patients and their loved ones to handle. Don’t hesitate to bring in outside help if you think you could benefit from it. Home health aides can help your loved one with taking medication, doing physical therapy, and more.
Do you want to find home health help for your loved one? Are you wondering if home help is right for you? Do you have other questions about pain management in seniors? Contact our reps so we can answer all of your important senior health questions.