Do full onset Alzheimer’s patients feel pain as normal patients would? My mother broke her hip yesterday and docs aren’t giving her pain meds because she doesn’t “seem” to be in pain. We will not be surgically repairing her hip, but I worry about her pain level. She is virtually non responsive at this point in time, but will eat when fed.

-Lynn

There has been much debate on what a person with dementia is thinking and feeling with a variety of suggestions and thoughts coming to light, but we seldom know for sure. After all, if our loved one cannot tell us specifically what they are thinking or feeling, how will we REALLY know?

It is heartbreaking and I am so sorry you are going through this, and I am so sorry your Mom is as well. It is hard to imagine that after breaking her hip that she would not be in pain, but crazier things have happened with Alzheimer’s patients. Look for non-verbal cues to see if she is uncomfortable in any way: grimaces, not wanting to get up or walk or roll onto that hip, a change in her behavior or a sudden loss of mobility or awareness of what is happening around her. Many do show pain, but they usually cannot tell you they are in pain, where the pain is or what is causing the pain. For her to not show any means her body could be protecting her from the pain and is more than likely shutting down those nerve receptacles. If she is unresponsive, this could very well be the case, but it is still possible she is feeling pain but unable to articulate this to you.

Please look for signs and know you are doing your best to look out for her and keep her as comfortable as possible. We are thinking of you and are so sorry you all are going through at this time.

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