According to Health Canada, an estimated 7.63 million Canadians are living with chronic pain. Conditions such as arthritis, muscle aches, or injury can dramatically affect one’s mental and physical health.
If you have a senior loved one in your life who is living with this often invisible condition, you may be noticing how it is affecting their quality of life.
What is chronic pain, and what causes it?
Everyone experiences aches and pains from time to time, but when the pain persists over a long period of time, it is considered chronic.
Older adults can experience chronic pain due to a number of complications, including back pain, arthritis, migraines, shingles, neuropathy, etc.
Chronic pain may cause the senior in your life to stop doing activities that they used to love or even to withdraw socially and become depressed.
How to help your loved one who has chronic pain
1. Book an appointment with their family doctor
The first step in dealing with chronic pain should always be to ensure that your loved one sees their physician. This will help to rule out more serious underlying conditions and may even lead to a simple solution for the pain.
Self-medication for chronic pain is a bad idea – even with over-the-counter drugs. NSAIDs like acetaminophen can cause severe health damage when taken in excess or may even interfere with your loved one’s prescription drugs.
2. Overcoming fear
People who have not experienced chronic pain may not realize the fear that comes with it; in some ways, it can be as bad or worse than the pain itself. Your loved one may be fearful that the pain will control and dictate their life.
Helping your loved one find a counsellor or a support group can help them to overcome this fear. Sometimes all it takes to make a person feel less anxious is someone who sympathizes with what they are going through.
3. Rediscovering life in spite of the pain
While pain may stop your loved one from doing some of the things they used to, it does not have to stop them from enjoying their life. You can help your loved one modify or adjust their activities and hobbies or find new ones. Some activities like swimming or yoga may even help reduce their pain.
Contact VERA Home Care today
If you are a family caregiver for someone who is living with chronic pain, you know how challenging it can be. It takes patience, compassion, and sometimes a bit of creativity.
At VERA Home Care, our professional home care workers are experienced in helping those living with chronic pain. If you feel your loved one could benefit from this experience, give us a call today to arrange for a consultation.