Dementia Pain Management

Severe Dementia Pain Management: 3 Things to Know

Chronic pain is very real for many older adults, dementia or no dementia. The problem for those with severe dementia is that they can't always articulate the location or intensity of the pain.

What caregivers should know about pain management in severe dementia:

  • Keep watch for pain. Reading expressions and body language is one of the best ways to monitor pain. Take note of what's happening at the time you see a physical reaction to pain, like a grimace or moan (getting in or out of bed? after eating? while sleeping?). Report what you see to your loved one's doctor.

  • Know that yes, strong pain medicines are available to help -- and no, you needn't worry about addiction. Someone with severe dementia isn't likely to get hooked on pain meds. To the contrary, receiving them can ease many behavioral symptoms (like poor sleep or aggression) that are exacerbated by pain.

  • Be careful about ibuprofen, though, which can be especially hard on an older adult's kidneys. Learn more about over-the-counter pain relievers for the elderly.

    SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You


8 months ago, said...

Hey Paula Spencer Scott, This is really awesome and clear. Great posts that we can sink our teeth into and really go to work. Off to share this post now, i want all those new bloggers to see that if they don't already have a plan then they do now!


over 2 years ago, said...

My mother in law takes norco for pain ,she Also has arthritis very bad in her back . She is 79 years of age and has dementia.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Very helpful !!!! I was present when a patient (friend)) who already had the "death rattle) was denied morphine ! She also was lifted - even though it caused major pain "Dr.'s orders to avoid pressure pain". All I can say is that when it is my turn somone shows more common sense and compassion. By the way , she had a broken hip.


over 4 years ago, said...

This is my first reading. It was interesting John


almost 5 years ago, said...

confirming the best over the counter pain relievers for the elderly. Thanks


almost 5 years ago, said...

it was very helpfull


over 5 years ago, said...

My mother uses oxycodone for pain management. I agree that pain management is more crucial at this stage of the game than to worry about addiction. But there is a fine line there also! I've had to put these meds under lock and key since she was sneaking pills and over medicating herself, even though the pills where hidden in my room and I was dispensing them to her daily. There is still a need to be cautious as to how many pills are really necessary for the elderly. It's much too easy for them to lose their balance and break a hip at this stage of the game. Close monitering is crucial when they are on this type of medication.


over 5 years ago, said...

I think it was helpful as is. I have found it to be true with mother who has been diagnosed in 2006 with frontal lobe dementia. However, from time to time yet we can get her to giggle slightly and even a big smile once in awhile. Pain seems to be her constant companion but we work with the doctor and as of yet, mostly OTC for pain control. We find that Tylenol Arthritis or a generic works several times a day. The arthritis designation means it is time released but otherwise differs not from regular Tylenol types.


over 5 years ago, said...

I did not know about the rikls of ibuprofen. The chance of getting hooked on pain killers makes sense to me though....Mom sometimes forgets to tell us when she is in pain...therefore I am guessing she would also forget to ask for pain killers.


over 5 years ago, said...

It is difficult to know to control chronic pain in older adults because in the majority of cases of dementia and pain used as vicodin or lortab for pain control and relaxing medicines for the disease. Although doctors in line of Findrxonline mentioned that they should be careful with the side effects of these prescription drugs.