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A life with pain -- new study examines the experiences of older people
Date:1/8/2009

It's debilitating, isolating and can lead to severe depression yet pain is widely accepted as something to be expected and regarded as 'normal' in later life. Now a new study from The University of Nottingham examines older people's experiences of pain and how best Government, the NHS and social care agencies can address the issue.

The report, Pain in older people: reflections and experiences from an older person's perspective, aims to highlight the issue of pain in older people by exploring their experiences of living and coping with persistent pain. Funded by Help the Aged and the British Pain Society, the study saw researchers interview older people about their experiences of pain and how it affected their lives, both physically and psychologically. Literature on pain in older people was also reviewed.

The report which reveals that nearly five million people over the age of 65 are in some degree of pain and discomfort in the UK has already led to questions being asked of the Government in the House of Lords.

By interviewing older people, the researchers identified specific themes in the way that they communicate, cope with and experience their pain. These include;

  • The stiff upper lip "I understand my generation very well. We learned our attitude to pain from British society in general and from our families. It was: 'Don't make a fuss'."
    Claire Rayner OBE, 76, journalist.

  • Becoming a burden "Later this year my wife and I will be celebrating our 46th anniversary. We have the opportunity to go to New York for a long weekend with family and friends. However, I simply cannot endure the flight. If I were to sit for an extended period, such as six hours, in a confined space, I would be unable to walk far for the next few days. I feel I would be too much of a burden to the others if I were to go."
    Ben Kelk, 68, retired security guard.

  • An isolating experience "Your life te
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Contact: Tara de Cozar
tara.decozar@nottingham.ac.uk
44-011-584-68545
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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