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What reporters should know about chronic pain and aging

Many older adults live with chronic pain. It may be related to arthritis, complications from diabetes, falls, surgery, or other causes, but aging and pain go hand-in-hand for an estimated 58 percent to 70 percent of community-dwelling adults over age 65 and up to 80 percent of nursing home residents. Although physiologic changes are inevitable as we get older, persistent pain is not part of a normal aging process.

An  International Association for the Study of Pain fact sheet said that nearly half (45 percent) of older adults admitted to hospitals report pain – 19 percent have moderate or severe pain and 12.9 percent are not satisfied with current pain management methods.

Chronic pain in older adults is often underassessed and undertreated, according to numerous studies.  If you plan to report on pain-related issues, here are some things to keep in mind.

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