Itching. Burning. Urgency. If you have ever had the misfortune of experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know these symptoms on a personal level. For younger people, a UTI is often fairly easy to notice and care for. However, it is often more difficult for older adults, as symptoms can be less noticeable or even dramatically different in how they present.
UTI Symptoms in Seniors
On top of the typical warning signs and symptoms of a UTI, like those mentioned above as well as burning or pain when urinating, pressure in the pelvic area, and discolored urine, seniors may also experience:
- Delirium or confusion
- Social withdrawal
- Other personality changes
Left untreated, UTIs in seniors can cause serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTI in Seniors
Seniors are more prone to urinary tract infections if they have:
- Compromised immune systems
- Been hospitalized or in a care facility and in contact with a variety of germs
- Been diagnosed with a UTI in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Certain health issues, such as incontinence
If You Think a Senior Loved One Has a UTI
Contact his or her physician right away for a urine test to confirm the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the optimal treatment solution, which may include one of several different medications (given intravenously in the event that infection is severe) in addition to antipsychotic medicines to help with delirium and confusion.
But as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These steps can help the older adults you love avoid contracting a urinary tract infection:
- Drinking enough fluids throughout each day, especially plain water. The suggestion for older adults is a little over 7 cups of water per day.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Ensuring underwear and/or incontinence pads are dry, and changing immediately when they become wet.
- Urinating right away when the urge arises (for continent seniors).
- Transportation to procedures, tests, and medical appointments
- Picking up prescriptions and running other errands
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring adequate hydration
- Assisting with personal care needs, such as incontinence care and other hygiene needs
- Companionship for enjoyable activities as well as to look out for and report any changes in condition
- And more
Help an older adult you love stay healthy and thriving with help from our care specialists! Contact us at 410-357-9640 to request a no-cost in-home consultation for more information on the numerous ways we can help.