Seniors and other people who need care often have trouble finding words for their pain, so anyone looking after them needs to be something of a pain detective.

Rather than using the word “pain,” it is more helpful to describe the specific condition, says care scientist Thomas Fischer. Questions like ”Does anything hurt?” or “Is this unpleasant?” are useful options, suggests Fischer suggests in in the care specialist magazine Pflege und Familie.

It is also important to observe body language. If someone who needs care pulls faces when the carer dresses them, say, that can be a sign of pain. The same thing may be true when the patient avoids certain movements or wants to stop taking walks, for example. – dpa