Chronic pain in older adults can contribute to a broad range of health issues, from reduced mobility and increased fall risk to sleep problems, depression, and anxiety. Some seniors with persistent discomfort also become isolated because they avoid activities that tend to contribute to pain. If you have a senior loved one living with chronic pain, here are possible ways to address it.
This may seem like a simple step, but lack of sufficient hydration can make chronic pain worse. Encourage your loved one to sip water and other healthy beverages throughout the day. It’s also best to avoid caffeinated drinks and excessive alcohol consumption, since both of these things can contribute to dehydration.
It’s common for chronic pain to be managed with opioid painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, depending on such medications for long-term relief can present serious risks for seniors, including side effects, drug interactions, and the risk of addiction. Instead, talk to your loved one’s doctor about a non-drug treatment plan, which could involve:
• Gentle stretching
• Less demanding forms of exercise like water aerobics, walking, and yoga
• Hot/cold therapy
A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise in safety and comfort. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Flower Mound, TX, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.
Some seniors report noticeable results with acupuncture and other alternative pain management practices. Treatments of this nature aren’t meant to be a substitute for traditional care, but they can supplement it. Chiropractic care is another common option that may be an effective pain management solution for older adults living with chronic pain.
Sugary snacks, processed foods, refined carbs, and vegetable and seed oils are among the foods that tend to worsen inflammation and chronic pain. Your loved one may be able to enjoy a welcome break from chronic discomfort if he or she opts for foods that naturally reduce inflammation and play a role in fighting pain. According to WebMD, some of these foods include:
• Blueberries and other brightly colored fruits
• Salmon and similar fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
• Ginger, turmeric, and other spices with natural anti-inflammatory and cell-protecting properties
The purpose of physical therapy is to promote healing whenever possible and get persistent pain down to a manageable level. Because physical therapy is highly personalized, your loved one may respond to a well-rounded treatment plan that includes:
• Therapeutic exercises
• Massage therapy and other manual techniques
• Electrical stimulation
If a customized physical therapy plan is recommended for your loved one, he or she may be advised to do certain exercises or routines at home between sessions. If this is the case, encourage your loved one to stick with what’s suggested, and provide any assistance he or she may need.
A compassionate home caregiver can be a valuable source of support for a senior living with chronic pain. At-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.
When proper techniques are used, meditation is a discipline that can relax tense muscles and naturally reduce the stress that often goes along with chronic discomfort. Mindful meditation is one form of meditation that may be especially beneficial for seniors looking to change how pain is perceived. Emotional wellbeing may be enhanced as well.
One other way to address chronic pain in older adults is with appropriate lifestyle adjustments. For some seniors, this might mean losing excess weight to relieve pressure on muscles, joints, and bones. Other recommendations may involve:
• Increasing posture
• Getting sufficient sleep
• Adopting an appropriate exercise routine
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Flower Mound families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care home for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010.