Itchiness. Burning. An urgent need to use the bathroom. If you’ve ever endured the misfortune of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you understand these symptoms all too well. For younger people, a UTI is generally fairly easy to notice and treat. However, it is often more complex for older adults, as symptoms are often less apparent and even vary greatly in the way they present.
UTI Symptoms in Seniors
When it comes to seniors and urinary tract infections, symptoms can go beyond the typical warning signs and symptoms of a UTI. In addition to pain or irritation when urinating, pressure in the pelvic area, and discolored urine, seniors may also experience:
- Confusion or delirium
- Withdrawal from social events
- Other behavioral changes
Without treatment, UTIs in senior loved ones may result in serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTI in Seniors
Older adults tend to be more susceptible to urinary tract infections if they have:
- Compromised immune systems
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and exposed to a variety of bacteria
- Been diagnosed with a UTI in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Certain health conditions, such as incontinence
If You Suspect a UTI in a Senior…
Contact his or her health care provider right away for a urine test to confirm the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the most effective treatment option, which may include one of several different medications (given intravenously in the event that infection is severe) in addition to antipsychotic drugs 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 in your life avoid a urinary tract infection:
- Drinking plenty of fluid throughout each day, particularly plain water. The recommendation for seniors is slightly over 7 cups of water each day.
- Avoiding 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
- Picking up prescriptions and running other errands
- Preparing nutritious meals and ensuring sufficient hydration
- Helping with personal care needs, such as incontinence care and other hygiene requirements
- Companionship for enjoyable activities as well as to watch for and report any alterations in condition
- And a lot more
Help a senior you love remain healthy and well with some help from our care experts! Reach out to us at 603-217-0149 to request a complimentary in-home assessment for more information on the many ways we can help.