Dementia and pain

Pain can often be missed or not recognised in people with dementia, due to communication difficulties. Here are some tips on how to recognise pain, what can cause it, and ways to alleviate it:

Changes in behaviour can mean pain: are they pacing? Groaning? Grimacing? Shouting out?

Physical changes can mean pain: are they pale? Cold or hot to the touch? Eating more or less than usual? Sleeping more or less?

There are many hard to see reasons for pain: gum disease; arthritis; constipation

Try to help the person maintain good health habits, such as brushing their teeth, taking any medication prescribed to them, taking a gentle walk whenever possible, and eating well

Depression and social isolation can also have an impact on pain. Encouraging the person to remain socially connected and doing activities they enjoy may help

Keeping a pain diary of when the person seems uncomfortable and why, can be useful. Take it with you to GP appointments

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