Age-related differences in pain perception and report

      The older person faces many threats to quality of life, including a marked increase in the incidence of disease, higher levels of functional disability, loss of lifetime partner or friends and family support networks, reductions in economic resources, and the foreboding prospect of institutional placement with an associated loss of independence. Even within this context, however, the presence of severe, unremitting pain is often regarded as one of the most common and devastating threats to health-related quality of life.
      • Kind P.
      • Dolan P.
      • Gudex C.
      • et al.
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      • Williams A.H.
      Recent epidemiologic studies indicate that more than 50% of older persons suffer from some form of persistent, bothersome pain complaint (see Helme and Gibson this volume for review). To provide adequate assessment and treatment for this ubiquitous problem, we need to clearly understand the extent and nature of any age-related change in pain perception and report. Unfortunately, attempts to address this issue have been somewhat sporadic, the results are often conflicting, and there remains a relative paucity of high-quality empirical investigations.
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