Active ageing in long-term care is an important strategy to consider for older persons living in long-term care and suffering from chronic pain. Research has shown that older persons involved in social activities and leisure events have a higher likelihood of having a better quality of life. This links to the Continuity Theory of Ageing, a psychosocial theory. It connects to the Biopsychosocial perspective discussed in previous blogs. This theory generally refers to the adaptations by older persons to remain active in their social circles.

Social engagement diminishes with the introduction of pain, affecting active ageing in long-term care. This results in a significant fear of going out, which links to feelings of anxiety. Older adults, because of their pain, feel scared and anxious that they may fall or get hurt and end up in a worse medical state. This fear prevents them from engaging in their social communities, leading to a fear of going out. This results in a loss of social interactions, developing new connections, and maintaining identity within their community. Consequently, this has significant mental health consequences for the older adult.

Older adults need to continue engaging in their communities to support active ageing in long-term care. However, this often fails to happen because of the pain they may be suffering from. To implement the continuity theory, healthcare professionals must aid older persons in maintaining thought patterns that negate fear. They can do this by providing common activities and habits to guide them to remain active. The best way to implement active ageing in long-term care is to connect rehabilitative measures with recreational activities such as walking, cooking, and light stretching exercises. These activities can help older persons understand that their chronic pain does not have to stop them from enjoying an outing or a social event.

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Yaser Teebi works as a Clinical Psychologist and Gerontologist at Willingness. He works with a variety of complex issues and adult age groups. Including chronic pain, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, trauma, loss, grief and bereavement, relationships and cognitive impairment. Yaser Teebi has graduated with several degrees with Merit. These include: Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), a Master of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and a Master of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, all at the University of Malta. He is currently reading for a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham.