Ageing increases the risk for the etiology of chronic pain and dementia. hence, the increase in the number of elderly people implies that the number of elderly with dementia suffering from chronic pain will increase as well. A key question relates to if and how patients with dementia perceive pain. the inadequateness of pain assessment, particularly in a more advanced stage, is also reflected in a decreased use of analgesics by elderly people with dementia. Insight into possible changes in pain experience as have been observed in the few available clinical studies, could be enhanced by knowledge about the neuropathology which may differ per subtype of dementia. It is striking that pain has not been examined in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system with a high risk for cognitive impairment such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. In these disorders, pain is a prominent clinical symptom and to date it is not known whether the experience of pain will change in a stage in which
patients become cognitively impaired. Finally, a number of instruments which are most appropriate to assess pain in communicative and non-communicative patients are discussed.