Is pain among the elderly unavoidable?

Pain among the elderly

The experience of pain among the elderly has become a major social issue. Though this group is one of the most frequently affected by pain, ensuring treatment for over-65s can be especially complicated, necessitating a multidisciplinary approach, which is why healthcare entities are so concerned about coordinating the efforts of a variety of professionals.


To learn more about this issue, Sanofi asked CSA Research to conduct a survey of 500 French persons over the age of 65, an appraisal entitled Vécu et impact de la douleur chez les seniors (“The Experience and Impact of Pain in the Elderly”). From this survey was born a study, La douleur chez les seniors est-elle une fatalité? (“Is Pain among the Elderly Unavoidable?”), shedding light on how the elderly experience, feel, and react to pain.


Three key facts can be distilled from this research. First, seniors suffer on a daily basis: 83% of respondents claim to have suffered pain over the past 12 months, 53% of them from joint pain, 44% from backache, and 32% from muscular pain.


The survey also shows that when over-65s experience pain, they naturally talk about it with their loved ones and doctors. These patients consult an average of one to three different healthcare professionals for the same pain.


Lastly, the study shows that the elderly have very high expectations with respect to medical professionals: 76% of respondents want healthcare professionals to provide better or more frequent explanations, and 79% expect these professionals to coordinate the patient’s treatment more effectively.


To meet the needs of these patients, Sanofi, in partnership with the Société Française d’Etudes et de Traitement de la Douleur (SFETD – the French Society for the Study and Treatment of Pain), hosted the first Forum de l’Antalgie (Pain Management Forum) in Paris in late May 2016. At this one-day event, general practitioners, specialists, nurses, pharmacists, and representatives from patient associations discussed and shared ideas on this important issue. The objective was to inspire those along the healthcare chain to create and implement innovative solutions.


Read the study here (in french)

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