Supporting Seniors with Chronic Pain

senior couple dancing As we age, changes in our musculoskeletal system, chronic disease, or medical conditions can cause seniors to experience daily pain. Untreated pain can have serious health consequences, including the inability to perform activities of daily living, sleep disturbances, disability, restricted mobility, and depression (Kaye, Baluch & Scott, 2010). Supporting seniors through day-to-day pain management is essential. The following are some ways that caregivers and families can encourage seniors who experienced chronic pain.

Talk to your doctor.

foot massage According to research, many seniors are not receiving treatment for their pain (Kaye, Baluch & Scott, 2010). Seniors should talk to their doctor about a pain care plan that is right for them. Many treatment plans exist, including medical management and holistic care. Talk to your doctor about how often you experience pain, what activities bring on pain, and how your pain impacts your daily life.

Ask about therapeutic, supportive care.

Therapeutic care such as massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, or aquatic therapy has been beneficial pain management modalities for many seniors. Talk to your doctor about what supportive therapies are available that would benefit you.

Stay active.

Senior couple hugging Research studies on seniors and pain found that adults who stayed active through their aging years reported decreased pain. Engage in gentle exercises such as yoga, walking, and swimming to stay healthy and reduce pain.

Support mental and emotional wellbeing.

Chronic pain can impact mental and emotional health. Engage in activities that support holistic wellbeing and talk with your loved ones about your challenges.

Take medications exactly as prescribed.

couple doing yoga hands at heart Maintain your daily health by taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor. Forgetting to take medication or taking too much medication can be dangerous. Caregivers can help seniors with medication reminders to help ensure seniors are managing pain and optimizing daily health.

Create a dynamic pain care team.

The best pain treatment plan is a personalized and multidimensional approach. Create your unique care plan to reach your pain goals by using all resources available. Talk to your doctor about including a physical therapist to improve body mechanics, an exercise educator to help with exercise and health goals, and a psychologist to help with stress management and coping skills.


Kaye, A. D., Baluch, A., & Scott, J. T. (2010). Pain management in the elderly population: a review. The Ochsner Journal, 10(3), 179–187.