Irritation. Burning. Urgency. If you have ever had the misfortune of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you already know these symptoms on a personal level. For younger adults, a UTI is often fairly easy to recognize and treat. But it can be more difficult for older adults, as symptoms can be less evident or even vary greatly in how they present.
Symptoms Of a UTI In Older Adults
Aside from the typical warning signs and symptoms of a UTI, like those listed above, seniors may also experience:
- Discolored urine
- Pain when urinating
- Pressure in the pelvic area
- Delirium or confusion
- Withdrawal from social events
- And other behavioral changes
Left untreated, UTIs in seniors can cause very serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTI in Seniors
Older adults are more prone to UTIs when they have:
- Immune system changes
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and exposed to a variety 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…
Consult with the senior’s health care provider immediately for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the best treatment solution, which may include one of several different antibiotics (given intravenously in the event that 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 tips can help the seniors you love avoid a UTI:
- Drinking plenty of fluids throughout each day, particularly plain water. The recommendation for older adults is a little over 7 cups of water a day.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Making sure 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 adequate hydration
- Assisting 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 changes in condition
- And more
Help an older adult you love stay healthy and well with assistance from our care experts! Give us a call at 618-667-8400 to request a cost-free in-home assessment for more information on the countless ways we can help. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the areas where we provide care.