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Pain Common in Those Who Have Dementia

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Elderly individuals with dementia who live in the community (in their own home or in a non-nursing home residential care setting) experience more bothersome and activity-limiting pain than their peers who do not have dementia, according to research recenlty published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

Investigators compared pain outcomes in 802 men and women, age 65 and older, who had dementia with a similar group of individuals without dementia. A questionnaire was used to assess pain; a proxy provided responses for participants with severe dementia.

More than 60 percent of those with dementia reported “bothersome” pain compared with 54.5 percent without dementia. In addition, 43 percent of participants with dementia had pain severe enough to limit activities compared with 27 percent of those without dementia. Surprisingly, almost one-third of those with pain rarely or never took pain medication.

Characteristics associated with a greater likelihood of bothersome pain included arthritis, heart and lung disease, difficulty performing activities of daily living, depressive and anxiety symptoms and low energy.

These findings suggest that everyday life for older adults with dementia often includes pain— and that it may not be recognized and treated. If you suspect your loved one may be affected, talk to his or her doctor about pain assessment and treatment. 

Posted in Memory on May 18, 2016

Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Health After 50 Disclaimer

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