Itching. Burning. An urgent need to use the bathroom. If you’ve ever endured the misfortune of experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), you already know these symptoms on a personal level. For younger people, a UTI is often reasonably easy to recognize and treat. But it is usually more complex for older adults, as symptoms can be less obvious or significantly different in how they present.
Older Adults and UTI Symptoms
On top of the typical warning signs and symptoms of a UTI, such as those noted above along with burning or pain when urinating, pressure in the pelvic area, and discolored urine, seniors may also experience:
- Confusion or delirium
- Social withdrawal
- And other behavioral changes
Without treatment, UTIs in senior loved ones may cause extremely serious complications, such as kidney damage, disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTIs in Seniors
Seniors tend to be more susceptible to UTIs if they have:
- Changes to their immune systems
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and exposed to various kinds of bacteria
- Had a urinary tract infection in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Certain health issues, such as incontinence
If You Suspect a UTI in a Senior…
Get in touch with the senior’s physician right away for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria present will determine the optimal treatment solution, which may include one of several different antibiotics (given intravenously if the infection is severe) along with antipsychotic medications to help with delirium and confusion.
But as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The following measures can help the older adults you love avoid a urinary tract infection:
- Drinking lots of fluids throughout each day, specifically plain water. The recommendation for older people is slightly over 7 cups of water per day.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Ensuring underwear and/or incontinence pads are dry, and changing immediately if they become wet.
- Urinating right away when the need arises (for continent seniors).
- Transportation to medical appointments, tests, and procedures
- Errand-running and prescription pickups
- Preparing healthy meals and ensuring adequate hydration
- Assisting with personal care needs, such as incontinence care and other hygiene requirements
- Companionship for enjoyable activities as well as to monitor for and report any changes in condition
- And a lot more
Help a senior you love remain healthy and well with some assistance from our care experts! Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to request a cost-free in-home consultation to learn more about the numerous ways we can help.