According to the National Institute of Health, a truly astonishing one-quarter of the American population, more than 76 million people, suffer from pain that lasts for more than 24 hours at a time. Even more suffer from pain that is “acute”, or lasts for a shorter length of time. Chronic pain can be a truly debilitating condition and is listed as the most common cause of disability in the country. People with this pain often find themselves unable to participate in their usual daily activities and can experience depression and anxiety related to their pain. These issues can combine to create a truly negative impact on your parent’s quality of life.
If you are on an elderly care journey with a senior who suffers chronic pain, finding ways to help manage that pain can be instrumental in your parent maintaining as much independence as possible. This not only gives him a higher quality of life because of the reduced pain, but improved mental and emotional health as well.
Use these tips to help you encourage independence in a senior dealing with chronic pain:
• Find the source. Pain can come from a wide variety of sources. It is important to identify what is causing your loved one pain so that you can address it properly. Pain can come from an injury, an illness, trauma, or even as a symptom of a cognitive or emotional condition. Knowing what causes that pain can also help to ensure identification of serious conditions if they are present.
• Encourage activity. People who are in pain may not want to move at all. They may feel like if they move they are going to be in more pain, or they simply lack the motivation to get up and do anything. This, however, can actually make the chronic pain worse. Encouraging activity keeps your parent’s body strong and healthy, which can reduce pain symptoms. Activity also releases endorphins that improve mood. An elevated mood often reduces perception of pain or at least distract from the severity of the pain.
• Offer emotional support. Pain can be an extremely isolating issue. Your parent might feel like he no longer has value or worth because he cannot participate in activities, or may simply want to withdraw due to his suffering. Offering emotional support gives your parent motivation to keep fighting through the pain and taking care of his body for improved health and well-being.
• Hire help. Independence does not have to mean your parent doing everything by himself. Consider hiring an elderly health care services provider to help your parent handle tasks made difficult by his pain. This will enable him to do what he can and rely on someone supportive and respectful to step in and help finish tasks. This arrangement can empower your parent and make him feel more willing to try more in his life knowing that there is someone there to help him when he needs it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Eden Prairie MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.