Persistent pain is common in older adults, and its consequences are often severe. Self-assessment scales have been validated in older populations and remain the gold standard for the evaluation of pain intensity in this age group. Most patients with dementia demonstrate appropriate use of self-assessment scales. Observational scales correlate moderately with self-assessment and tend to underestimate pain intensity; thus, their use should be reserved for patients who have demonstrated their inability to use self-assessment tools reliably.
Key words: pain, dementia, self-assessment, pain scale, cognitive impairment.