Pain and pain-related situations surrounding community-dwelling older persons

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Aims and objectives

To examine the pain prevalence in community-dwelling older adults and to explore the relationships between pain and physical and psychological parameters.


Uncontrolled chronic pain is one of the barriers preventing older people from achieving active ageing. Effective pain management can enhance their mobility, increasing the happiness level and thus the quality of life.


Exploratory cross-sectional study.


Cognitively intact community-dwelling older persons aged over 60 in Hong Kong were invited for a 20–25-minute interview.


A total of 173 participants were recruited, with a mean age of 73·2. The average pain intensity was 3·97 ± 1·80. Oral analgesic drugs were used by 47·1% of participants, and 86·0% used nonpharmacological methods to relieve pain. Compared with participants free of chronic pain, participants with pain had lower happiness levels (p < 0·05). In addition, levels of mobility (p < 0·05) and physical quality of life (p < 0·05) were lower for older people with pain. Pain intensity was negatively correlated with physical quality of life (p < 0·05) and self-efficacy (p < 0·05), and positively correlated with mystery (p < 0·05), permanence (p < 0·05) and self-blame (p < 0·05) in pain belief.


It was noted that nonpharmacological methods were commonly used by older persons as pain relief and that older persons with pain were less happy, less mobile and had a poorer quality of life as compared to their counterparts without pain.

Relevance to clinical practice

It is important to educate community-dwelling older persons on methods of pain management and to maintain their physical and psychological well-being in order to engage them in the community and lead a healthy and happy ageing.

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