Persistent geriatric pain may be defined as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage, for persons who are either aged (65 to 79 years old) or very aged (80 and over) and who have had pain for greater than 3 months. (Lynch, 2000)1 Epidemiologic studies show a high prevalence of persistent pain in older adults, often exceeding 50% in community dwelling older adults and 80% in long term care residents. (Gibson, 2007)2 Impaired quality of life secondary to pain is well described and can manifest as depression, anxiety, sleep disruption, appetite disturbance and weight loss, cognitive impairment and functional decline
AGS Panel, 2009) 3

Screening: Do you have any problems with soreness, aching, discomfort or pain?

If you answered yes to the above:
•    Clarify onset and tempo of symptoms, location, severity (0-10 scale)
•    Affect on function/mood/quality of life
•    Precipitating factors 
•    History of trauma, investigations completed
•    Treatments tried (NSAIDS, Tylenol, rubs, narcotics, physiotherapy, massage, chiropractor, injections, specialists)

Additional resources:


  1. Lynch D. (2000) Geriatric pain. In: Raj P. P., editor. Practical Management of Pain. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, pp. 270–271.
  2. Gibson,S.(2007) Expert review of neurotherapeutics. 7(6):627-35
  3. AGS Panel on Pharmacological Management of Persistent Pain in Older Persons. (2009) Journal of American Geriatrics Society. 57(8):1331-46.