Irritation. Burning. An urgent need to use the bathroom. If you have ever endured the misfortune of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you understand these symptoms on a personal level. For younger individuals, a UTI can be fairly easy to detect and deal with. Yet it is often more complicated for seniors, as symptoms are often less evident and significantly different in how they present.
Signs of a UTI in Seniors
Beyond the typical warning signs of a urinary tract infection, such as those mentioned above as well as pain or irritation when urinating, pressure in the pelvic area, and discolored urine, seniors might also experience:
- Delirium or confusion
- Social withdrawal
- And other personality changes
Without treatment, UTIs in seniors may lead to serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTI in Seniors
Older people tend to be more susceptible to urinary tract infections when they have:
- Compromised immune systems
- Been hospitalized or in a care facility and exposed to a variety of bacteria
- Been diagnosed with a UTI in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Specific health problems, such as incontinence
If You Think a Senior Loved One Has a UTI
Contact the senior’s health care provider right away for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the most effective treatment option, which could include one of several different antibiotics (given intravenously if the infection is severe) as well as antipsychotic drugs to help with delirium and confusion.
But as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The following steps can help the older adults you love avoid a UTI:
- Drinking an adequate amount of fluids throughout each day, especially plain water. The suggestion for seniors is a little over 7 cups of water per day.
- Trying to avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine.
- Ensuring underwear and/or incontinence pads are dry, and changing immediately if they become wet.
- Urinating right away when the urge arises (for continent seniors).
- Transportation to procedures, tests, and medical appointments
- Errand-running and prescription pickups
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring adequate hydration
- Helping with personal care needs, such as incontinence care and other hygiene necessities
- Companionship for enjoyable activities as well as to watch for and report any alterations in condition
- Plus much more
Help a senior you love stay healthy and thriving with some support from our care specialists! Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 to request a free in-home assessment to learn more about the numerous ways we can help.