Pain Management in Older Adults
Pain is an unfortunate fact of daily life for many seniors. Living with it can be physically debilitating, and also be the cause of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Some seniors avoid talking about their pain, as they fear being a burden to their loved ones, or don’t want to be perceived as weak.
If you have an older loved one who experiences pain every day, there are some effective strategies to help them eliminate it or reduce it to a manageable level.
Let’s take a look at some great ways to help your loved one manage chronic pain.
Consult with Their Doctor First
Before looking for ways to help your loved one with pain relief, talk to their doctor about it. They can provide great insight into the type of pain your loved one is experiencing, and what methods would be most effective in helping them feel more comfortable.
Utilizing heat is often a great way to gain temporary relief from pain. Whether your loved one enjoys a warm shower, using a hot water bottle, or a heating pad, applying heat to painful areas can relax tense muscles and lessen spasms. If your loved one uses a heating pad, be sure to supply one that has a safety shut-off, so their skin is not burned from extended use. Heat therapy can be applied for 10-20 minutes, several times a day.
Cold therapy is another effective way to manage pain. When applied to the skin, cold packs or wraps are very good at numbing pain and reducing swelling. Even a Ziploc bag full of ice can be a highly effective way to apply coldness to a specific area of the body.
It’s very important, however, to not make direct contact between the cold object and your loved one’s skin. This can cause the skin to freeze, which will create even more pain. A cold compress can be applied for a duration of about 15 minutes, multiple times per day.
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Practicing controlled breathing is a great way to lessen the effects of chronic pain. Help your loved one learn how to take deep breaths and focus on their breathing. As they exhale, instruct them to picture the pain leaving their body with each breath. Have them try this about 4-5 times every few minutes.
If your loved one has lung or breathing problems, be sure to consult their doctor before trying this.
Giving your loved one a gentle massage is a highly effective method for providing some pain relief. Massages feel great on the feet, hands, back, and legs.
Apply gentle, steady pressure in a circular fashion. Try a massage with some fragrant oil, or lotion for an added luxurious touch. If a massage causes your loved one pain, decrease the pressure on the affected area.
Over the Counter Medication
Today, there are many varieties of over the counter medications that are highly effective at relieving pain. Tylenol, Advil, and Alleve are some of the most popular brands on the market. Each one of these medications are designed for certain types of pain relief, so speak to your loved one’s doctor about which ones to use for their specific conditions.
Be aware that chronic use of over the counter medications can sometimes have adverse effects on the organs, or interact with certain prescription drugs. Speak to your loved one’s medical provider for more information.
Pain Management for Seniors
Nobody likes to experience chronic physical pain, as it can be debilitating and adversely affect a senior’s quality of life. Whether your loved one’s doctor recommends heat or cold therapy, concentrated breathing techniques, massage, or over the counter medication, your loved one will appreciate the effort you are making to help them.
Frontier Senior Living is devoted to helping our residents live comfortably, and enjoy a high quality of life. We have helped many families find the perfect Senior Living community to meet their loved one’s unique needs.
If you would like to learn more about our many services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful properties, take a tour, and speak with our friendly and compassionate staff.
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The compassionate staff at Frontier Senior living has helped many families find the perfect Senior Living Community to meet their loved ones’ unique needs.
If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our properties, take a tour, and speak with our wonderful staff.
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Livingston Place at Southern Avenue4656 Livingston Road Southeast Washington, District of Columbia 20032 (771) 333-8279 Levels of Care:
Portside at Grande DunesMyrtle Lane Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29572 (843) 894-2355 Levels of Care:
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The Parc at Harbor View Senior Living46 Lincoln Street Winthrop, Massachusetts 02152 (857) 349-5044 Levels of Care:
Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care