Ways to Assist Seniors in Managing Chronic Pain: Tips Caretakers Must Know

Seniors may be more prone to chronic pain than most, but that doesn’t mean that they should regard it as a given. Doing so is nothing short of defeatist and doesn’t do anything positive for those who are residing in assisted living communities near me

As a caretaker, it’s only right that you shouldn’t rely solely on drug interventions to ease symptoms. That being said, these tips should greatly benefit both caretaker and senior alike in senior living near me

First, Acknowledge that You Are Caring for Someone with a Higher Risk for Persistent Pain

  • We can’t deny the fact that it’s more challenging trying to treat the pain symptoms of the elderly. This is because their bodies tend to no longer respond as optimally to drug therapies as their younger counterparts. 
  • Certain conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer (common conditions found in the elderly) also make pain management more complicated than it should be.

Nonetheless, caretakers working in senior apartments near me should also always remember that growing older means you’ll inevitably have to deal with pain — that it’s part of aging. They also have to acknowledge the vital role they play in planning and executing multidisciplinary strategies that deliver concrete results. 

The Tried-and-Tested Methods and Tips that Experienced Caretakers Can Vouch For

1. Always ensure proper pain assessment and a deeper understanding of your senior.

Caregivers in independent senior living communities near me should never miss this step and fail to do it correctly. Assessment becomes a must simply because studies already show that seniors tend to underreport the pain that they’re feeling.

What does this mean for caretakers? Well, it only underlines the importance of knowing the person under your care deeply. 

  • As much as possible you should be able to readily identify signs (even though they’re nonverbal) like if he or she is grimacing more often than usual or appears to be more guarded. Any change in behavior should be immediately detected so as to prevent a delay in response.
  • This is necessary for knowing the severity of the pain. If it’s beginning to affect the resident’s everyday activities, that already warrants a closer look and inquiry. However, less impactful pain can also be bothersome, so it’s infinitely better for the caretaker to be able to wade through these subtleties, too.
  • Additionally, the best caregivers understand that some seniors may resist taking pain medication because of their strong religious and cultural belie

2. Stay on top of the senior’s medical history. 

Good assisted living apartments near me always keep a record of the EMGs, x-rays, myelograms, and nerve conduction tests of their residents. Caretakers should use these invaluable resources as a reference when deciding the course of the resident’s pain management. 

  • How did he or she respond to the pain medications and other relevant treatments performed in the past?
  • Has he or she suffered from side effects such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, and insomnia as a result of the treatment?

Your decisions and actions should be guided by this essential information as much as possible so that there are no stumbling blocks during the entire treatment period. We can even safely say that these can substantially contribute to more favorable results being enjoyed by the seniors. 

3. Work with the most suitable physical therapists and occupational therapists.

This is pretty much a must since there’s already overwhelming evidence that these professionals are just as adept at easing pain symptoms than relying solely on medications. In some cases, they can even prove to be better.

  • Science-backed programs that physical therapists often prescribe to their older seniors include body mechanics training, massages, martial arts like tai chi, as well as the simple regular use of cold and hot packs on strategic parts of the body.
  • Occupational therapists, on the other hand, recommend ADL and IADL training, active relaxation sessions, strengthening exercises, and yoga, to name a few. 

The real magic of these professionals comes from the fact that their training programs often result in better, longer-lasting pain relief than, let’s say, popping an ibuprofen pill regularly. 

4. Don’t overlook the importance of communication. 

When we say communication, we mean it in a community-encompassing way. After all, the community as a whole plays as much of a vital role in how seniors respond to their treatments. 

  • How can you maintain a streamlined and optimal pain management strategy if there’s a clear lack of reliable and effective interdepartmental communication in the entire facility? 
  • In the same way, improving communication with the seniors is just as crucial. You, as the caretaker, should take active steps in doing this. You look for ways to encourage your seniors to communicate with you the level of pain he or she is currently feeling. 

Understandably, some seniors are naturally deficient when it comes to this. If that’s the case, speech and language pathologists may be able to help them overcome their communication weaknesses. 

5. Practice good medication management.

Naturally, you should work in close coordination with the seniors physician and be mindful of possible side effects and negative drug interactions that may happen with improper medication.

  • The more organized, the better. Besides pre-sorting the medications for a given duration (like a week or a month), you should also make sure that everything is stored properly. 
  • Caretakers in memory care centers near me with dementia and Alzheimer’s seniors under their care should be extra mindful of the possible medication mishaps that may happen as a result of their seniors’ cognitive impairment. It goes without saying that they should be extra vigilant when helping them. 

Conclusion

On the whole, your compassion as a caretaker counts as much as your willingness to perform your responsibility when helping the elderly deal with chronic pain. Ultimately, the ongoing nature of pain necessitates nurturing this kind of behavior, and the results almost always speak for themselves. Most caretakers inevitably come to the realization that their seniors may have to deal with it for the rest of their lives, after all. 

These strategies are only ever as effective as how you implement them, after all. Knowledge and action work hand in hand, in short, and you’ll undoubtedly see the difference soon enough once you start applying what we shared here.