Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons for immobility. The perception of pain varies among people, and if your senior loved one has a mood disorder or cognitive problems, he or she may perceive pain differently than someone who doesn’t have these issues. Here are some ways to manage chronic pain in older adults so they can live more comfortably.
1. Encourage Movement
Even when aging adults have chronic pain, they should try to move as much as possible. Increased physical activity promotes circulation and prevents joint stiffness that’s common in those with osteoarthritis. A physical therapist can also work with your loved one to increase strength, range of motion, and flexibility, all of which can ease chronic pain.
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Potomac respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
2. Monitor Nutrition
Certain foods, such as those high in sugar, can trigger a systemic inflammatory response. When this happens, elderly people may develop joint and muscle pain. Make sure your loved one consumes a healthy diet because eating well dampens inflammation, maintains optimal blood glucose levels, and lowers blood pressure. Consuming a healthy diet may also boost levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can impart a feeling of wellbeing so the perception of pain diminishes.
A professional caregiver with training in nutrition can be an outstanding source of support for your loved one. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. You can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care Potomac to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia.
3. Avoid Obesity
Obesity may cause or worsen chronic pain in the elderly, and it also triggers inflammation and stresses the joints. If your loved one has hip, knee, or ankle pain as a result of arthritis, losing weight can take some of the stress off the joints, easing the pain.
If your loved one is having difficulty losing weight, talk to a registered dietitian, who can recommend healthy meal choices. Once seniors shed extra pounds, they may be able to exercise more, which can help them maintain a healthier weight. Obesity also raises the risk of renal disease, neuropathy, and circulatory problems, which can all cause chronic pain.
4. Check Medications
Your loved one’s medications may no longer be treating his or her pain effectively. Have the physician evaluate the medication and, if needed, either change the prescription or increase the dosage. Over time, the effectiveness of prescription drugs can wear off. It’s essential for the doctor to reevaluate your loved one’s pain medications periodically to make sure they’re providing the desired results.
5. Get Physical Examinations
If your loved one’s chronic pain is associated with osteoporosis or another degenerative bone disease, make regular appointments for physical examinations. These diseases are often progressive, and as the conditions worsen, pain increases. Other diseases—such as diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, ankylosing spondylitis, and kidney disease—can also progress, causing chronic pain. When seniors get regular physical examinations, they can get the appropriate treatment for their pain in a timely manner.
In Potomac, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. Our caregivers encourage seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call today.