Anytime someone you love is hurting, it can be challenging to watch. This is especially true when your elderly loved one is sick or hurting – efforts to manage pain become all the more critical for those who may be otherwise weak or compromised. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries do occur no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Older adults often experience accidents because they have balance, mobility, or flexibility issues. When older individuals incur an injury, their pain can be more debilitating, and recovery may not be as easy. Chronic illness and pain are challenging, but there are some ways to help alleviate and manage pain.

Venice memory care

5 Tips to Overcome and Manage Pain

  1. Stay Active: The natural tendency when helping someone to recover from an injury is to limit too much activity. But staying active is an excellent way to strengthen muscles and joints and encourage well-being. A sedentary lifestyle is not suitable for anyone’s health, no matter their age. While you have to be careful and seek the advice of a physician or physical therapist, appropriate levels of activity can help to promote health and manage pain.
  2. Get a Massage: For years, the standard answer to pain was prescription painkillers. Unfortunately, the opioid crisis exploded due to so many people becoming addicted to these drugs, and therefore most experts recommend refraining from habit-forming substances as much as possible. If your senior loved one suffers from chronic pain, a massage can effectively and naturally offer pain management. Many local massage professionals specialize in working with senior citizens and the elderly. If your loved one is not comfortable with the idea of massage, allow them to first meet with and talk to the massage therapist, asking any questions they may have. If your senior lives in an assisted living facility, ask if there is a massage therapist on-site. You may wish to have the therapist speak with the appropriate physician to ensure everyone understands the treatment options.
  3. Look and Listen: Often, seniors suffer in silence because they don’t want to bother or burden their families. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open on visits for any telltale signs of pain. Allow them to vent about how they feel as much as they need to. Having an outlet to complain to relieve the anxiety and stress of being in pain and returning to health is more likely.
  4. Reduce Inflammation: If your loved one is experiencing pain from an injury or inflammation, speak to their physician about applying heat or ice. Pulled or strained muscles generally respond well to heating pads, but make sure an elderly loved one is supervised and that the heating pad is not so hot as to cause additional pain or discomfort.
  5. Stay Engaged: People who have nothing to preoccupy them tend to focus on their pain, and that pain can feel worse. With nothing to distract it, the mind thinks of nothing else but the pain. When the patient is engaged with a game or a conversation with friends, their mind is off their aching back. A hot drink, a time of prayer or meditation, or some soothing music can help relax the patient and manage pain.

If your senior loved one is in assisted living or memory care, ask the staff about any programs they may offer which can help in any of the above ways. Those who work in these residences are dedicated to helping your loved one live a happy, fulfilling, and healthy life.

A Banyan Residence is a professional assisted living and memory care center in Venice.