Vulnerability in the elderly and its relationship with the presence of pain

Leticia Masson Fabiana Meneghetti Dallacosta About the authors



In Brazil, there is a high prevalence of pain in people above the age of 60, and although pain is not related as a direct factor of dependence and death, it interferes in several aspects of life with functional limitations. This study aimed to evaluate the vulnerability of the elderly and its relation to the presence of pain.


A survey with individuals over 60 years using the Vulnerable Elders Survey questionnaire for vulnerability analysis and the Pain-Related Disability Index to analyze the interference of pain in daily activities. The data were analyzed using the Student’s t-test, Chi-square test, and Pearson’s correlation.


The study had 176 participants, mean age 68.3±6.8 years, 111 women (63.1%), and 65.9% rated their health as good. Forty-eight elderly (27.3%) were considered vulnerable, mainly women and patients with hypertension and diabetes. The most limiting daily living activities were bending, kneeling or squatting. The highest scoring domains for limitation due to pain were related to family and household activities, and work-related activities. The domains with lower scores were related to incapacity for sexual life and personal care. The older had lower scores on the pain scale, and the hypertensive had higher scores, as did women. There was an association between pain and vulnerability (p=0.00).


Pain impacts the life of the elderly, causing suffering and disability for activities of daily living, besides increasing vulnerability.

Elderly; Health vulnerability; Pain

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