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How Can You Determine if a Loved One with Dementia is in Pain?

Senior Care in Wellesley MA

Senior woman suffering from back painKnowing for certain when a loved one who has dementia is in pain isn’t always an easy task. If your loved one is still communicative, she may let you know when she’s in pain and where the pain resides. In the later stages of dementia, however, your loved one is less likely to let you know when she’s in pain.

Watch Her Behaviors

If your loved one is in pain, she may start to move differently or hold herself differently. She may rub the area that hurts or start pacing. Your loved one may give you typical pain cues, such as a grimace, or she may simply close her eyes or start blinking rapidly. If you’re not fully aware of her normal expressions, it can be difficult to spot the unusual ones. The more attention that you pay to her normal behaviors, the more readily you can spot changes in those behaviors that can alert you to pain.

Be Alert for Changes in Activity Level

Your loved one may have other cues that she’s in pain. She may be less interested in eating, for example, or she may have trouble sleeping. She may start to reduce her activity levels due to pain or fatigue or she may become more active in an effort to reduce the pain.

Listen for Unusual Sounds or Exclamations

Your loved one may not want to tell you she’s in pain, or she may not be able to tell you. She may, however, make vocalizations or exclamations that indicate that she’s experiencing pain. Breathing heavily, crying out, or even uttering phrases can be an indication that your loved one is experiencing pain.

Talk with Her Doctor

While it’s true that your elderly loved one is a unique individual with unique responses to pain and other situations, it’s also true that her doctor can help you to spot some of the universal signs of pain. Talk to her doctor about what you can watch for that can clue you in to signs that your loved one is experiencing discomfort or pain. Some of those signs could be related to her specific injuries or ailments.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073