At one time or another chronic pain affects about 25 million people in the US. That is more than 11% of the population. It gets worse as more than 17% of the population suffers from “severe levels” of pain. Chronic pain is defined as
“pain that continues or recurs over a prolonged period.”
Severe or acute pain “is distinct from chronic pain and is relatively more sharp and severe.”
As we age we are more likely to experience pain. It comes with the territory. Our anti-aging steps work towards avoiding chronic pain. However, everyone has some aches and pains. It is just a matter of how you handle the circumstances. There is nothing that can be done if you get an injury. Just try to handle the pain and time will take care of it.
However, chronic pain is hard to live with.
It will wear you down. If you do not experience such pain, it is hard to be compassionate but to the individual in pain, it is a serious problem.
Be open and empathetic
You may not be able to truly understand what they are going through, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes just providing an open ear and open mind is what someone in pain needs the most.
Help them adhere to doctor’s orders
Many people will start to stray from doctor’s orders once they start feeling a little better, or sometimes even when they are in pain. Help your loved one to stay on track and manage their pain with gentle reminders when it’s time for treatments such as
Heat and/or ice
Drive them to their appointments
Going to the doctor, even for a routine check-up, is not something many people look forward to. An upcoming appointment can be worrisome, painful, scary, or just throw a wrench into your daily routine. Being there for your loved one for this shows support. Some people won’t accept a ride, but just offering is a kind gesture. If they want to go alone, calling or stopping by to see how they are doing afterward is a great way to be there for them.
Invite them to join you for some gentle physical activity
Go for a walk
Cook them a meal
Taking care of everyday needs can be difficult when you’re in pain. Preparing a healthy meal for someone who’s is hurting will not only help someone avoid the discomfort of cooking, it will show your loved one that you are supportive and have their health in mind.
Bonus points: leftovers can provide a great meal for days!
Make a pasta casserole. It is easy and will last for many servings. This is a great and easy recipe that does not take long. Make one for yourself and add one for them. Everyone wins! You can leave out the pepperoni if you wish and change the cheese to some you may have in your refrigerator. Give it a try.
Shepard’s pie is delicious and easy to make. Buy the tin foil tins from the grocery store and fill them up. It is easy to freeze and reheat as needed.
In the summer when squash is plentiful, try skillet ratatouille. Don’t forget to make some for yourself and then make an extra batch!
These are easy recipes that will brighten everyone’s day.
Help with everyday tasks
Don’t ask if they need help, some people will feel guilty or too proud to accept. Instead, learn what activities cause him or her to hurt and just step in to help.
Help re-organize their house
Find out what home activities are difficult or painful for them and come up with a solution. This might include moving things that are on high shelves or that require stooping or bending to reach to be easily reachable. Try to eliminate stairs if that is a problem. If their bedroom is upstairs, consider helping to move them to the main floor.
Rearrange items for posture. This might mean moving a TV or computer screen to eye level as well as ensuring that a desk is the right height for viewing. Make sure furniture is ergonomic and comfortable. This might mean getting lumbar support for their favorite chair or finally replacing that old couch.
Learn about chronic pain
Understanding his or her condition will equip you to help alleviate their symptoms. By knowing what causes the pain, you can help to encourage choices that may provide relief. You can suggest anti-aging strategies but it is up to the individual to actually take the necessary steps.
It may be a difficult situation for you but for the sufferer, it is much worse. You may not want to help but eventually, that person in pain maybe you, and the favor will be repaid.
It is often difficult in our busy lives to find some time for others. However, one day you may be in their shoes and would appreciate the same kindness.
Read more about general health at the Guide For Seniors.