While it was once thought that dementia sufferers did not always feel pain, research has concluded that this is not the case. However, sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia have limited ability to understand and communicate about what they are experiencing.

That makes it more important for in-home caregivers to look for non-verbal cues to detect pain. Alzheimer’s Australia published a helpful Q&A that helps caregivers to assess and manage pain for Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers.

Here are some non-verbal cues that the Q&A said to look for:

  • facial grimacing
  • gestures that indicate distress
  • guarding a particular body part or reluctance to move
  • moaning with movement
  • limited range of motion or slow movement
  • increased heart rate, blood pressure or sweating
  • restlessness
  • crying or distress
  • increased or decreased vocalizations
  • withdrawn social behavior
  • lethargy or increased sleep
  • disrupted or restless sleep
  • decreased appetite (and decreased nutritional intake)
  • increased confusion
  • anger, aggression, irritability or agitation

They point out that these can also be signs of other issues, pain should be considered as a potential cause.

For more information about how to assess and manage pain for Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers, click here for the full report. If you would like to read more articles like this, follow us on Facebook or on Twitter.