There’s a four letter word that most senior citizens know all too well: PAIN.
According to a study by the Institute of Medicine, some 100 million Americans of all ages experience chronic pain – defined as pain lasting as long as three to six months – and nearly 90 percent of seniors fit uncomfortably in that category.
Consult this list of maladies and see if anything rings a bell – arthritis or joint pain, repetitive motion injury, discomfort associated with cancer, diabetes or stroke, depression-related pain, and ongoing soreness from recent surgical procedures.
As is the case with many folks, regardless of age, there’s a tendency for those with chronic pains to “suffer in silence,” which is hardly productive and in no way recommended. Perhaps the biggest roadblock to chronic pain relief in seniors is convincing the “patient” that there are ways to manage what hurts.
The first – and best – way to find relief is to consult your personal physician, who I can assure you, is not impressed with your efforts to live with pain that he or she can help alleviate or even eliminate. Keep track of your pain in a daily journal, noting when pain seems to be worse.
Pain management for seniors is not only vital for lifestyle considerations, but an effective plan can keep one single pain from turning into multiple pains. Treatment options range from medication, alternative-medicine solutions, or approaches like acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga or hypnosis, and even simple lifestyle modifications like exercise and healthy eating.
Unfortunately, chronic pain among the elder-set sometimes translates into nursing home placement. Loved ones reach a point where institutionalization, although not preferred, is the “only way” to remedy acute discomfort. This is no longer the case – there now exists an alternative – by way of Remain At Home Senior Care’s unique medical companion care offerings, seniors in NEGA are now able to keep the promise of independence by aging-in-place in the safety and comfort of their homes, surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Chronic pain is certainly a reality, and for many older Americans, it’s unavoidable. But agonizing should not be ignored anyone, much less the elderly. Ask for help – it’s good for what ails you.