While chronic pain is possible at any age, it’s a common issue for older individuals. As a study published in the National Library of Medicine notes, “A majority of the elderly suffer from chronic pain that significantly alters their daily activities and imposes an enormous burden on health care.” Furthermore, the study notes that seniors often experience pain due to physiological changes including a reduced endogenous analgesic response (the difference between an initial pain score and the post-dose pain score). Aging itself is also a factor of chronic pain due to decreased muscle mass, increased frailty, age-related falls, sleep disturbances and overall debility, among other issues.
That’s a lot to process, and it’s only part of the puzzle. Some seniors may experience additional pain due to musculoskeletal disorders including arthritis, neuropathy or other sources. Women are particularly prone to vertebral compression fractures—a painful injury that can cause long-term discomfort—and seniors being treated for cancer or other serious illnesses may experience pain related to their condition and/or treatment.
At Living Assistance Services in Toronto, we believe that everyone deserves comfort and a high quality of life. This often involves an element of pain management—something that can be discussed with a medical professional and supported by our caregivers. Here are a few things to consider—for personalized advice or to learn more about homecare services in the greater Toronto area, please contact us. We’d be glad to answer your questions and provide a quote.
Speak to your doctor
If you or an aging loved one is experiencing chronic pain, speak to your medical professional. In addition to prescribing medication or referring you to therapeutic treatment providers, they may be able to refer you to a pain management clinic in your region. These specialized clinics offer a variety of personalized pain management strategies including medication, botox and other injectables, nerve blocks, physical therapies and more. These clinics are typically covered by OHIP, so you won’t be charged out of pocket. If this hasn’t been suggested by your healthcare provider, ask them if it’s an option.
Try therapeutic treatments
If you’re in pain, medication isn’t the only solution—and it’s not always the most effective. Ask your doctor or pain management specialist if you (or your aging loved one) should try massage therapy, osteopathy, physical therapy or other treatments. It’s also good to know if your pain can be treated acutely with topical creams, a heat pad, or ice/cooling methods. You never know—you could end up with a recommendation to try a therapeutic float, use a heated wrap, try a cooling topical cream or even spend time in a hot tub (if one is accessible). The best thing you can do is ask your doctor and experiment with different strategies until you find one that’s effective! You can also speak to our team to book an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Occupational Therapist (OT) or Physical Therapist (PT) as we can arrange to have those providers come to your home.
In many cases, chronic pain is made worse by inactivity. Many seniors may spend time resting in a chair or bed because they feel uncomfortable, but this sedentary routine can actually increase their level of pain over time. Speak to your doctor about how gentle exercise may help alleviate pain for your aging loved one—our caregivers would be pleased to help facilitate daily walks, stretches, yoga for seniors or ‘chair fit’ exercises that are best suited to their needs. This is also great for supporting mental wellness!
Thanks as always for reading and please contact us if you have any questions about homecare services in Toronto. Our skilled, dedicated Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are here to help, and we’d be glad to provide a personalized quote.