Pain and Associated Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Patients Suffering from Dementia: Challenges at Different Levels and Proposal of a Conceptual Framework

J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;83(3):1003-1009. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210263.


Old age is critically associated with multi-morbidity, chronic pain, and high risk for dementia. Recognizing and treating pain is very much dependent on language comprehension and production. Both may be impaired in dementia. Moreover, neuropsychiatric symptoms may interact with pain perception. The main aims of the present article were 1) to identify key areas for future research to elucidate the relation between pain and associated neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia, and 2) to provide a conceptual framework for ameliorating the clinical process of recognizing, assessing, and managing pain in non-communicating patients with advanced dementia.

Keywords: Dementia; diagnosis; neuropsychiatric symptoms; pain; research criteria; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Chronic Pain* / diagnosis
  • Chronic Pain* / psychology
  • Comprehension*
  • Dementia* / complications
  • Dementia* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Pain Measurement*