Itchiness. Burning. Urgency. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you recognize these symptoms well. For younger people, a UTI is generally simple enough to notice and take care of. However, it is often more complex for seniors, as symptoms can be less obvious or even vastly different in how they present.
Senior UTI Symptoms
On top of the typical warning signs of a urinary tract infection, such as those in the list above, seniors could also experience:
- Pressure in the pelvic area
- Discolored urine
- Pain with urinating
- Confusion or delirium
- Withdrawal from social events
- And other behavioral changes
If not treated, UTIs in older adults can cause very serious complications, such as kidney damage, disease or infection.
Senior UTI Risk Factors
Older people tend to be at greater risk of UTIs if they have:
- Compromised immune systems
- Been hospitalized or in a care facility and in contact with various kinds of germs
- Had a urinary tract infection in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Specific health conditions, such as incontinence
If You Suspect a UTI in a Senior…
Consult with the senior’s doctor as soon as possible for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the optimal treatment solution, which may include one of several different antibiotics (given intravenously if the infection is severe) as well as 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 strategies can help the older adults in your life avoid a UTI:
- Drinking plenty of fluids daily, especially plain water. The recommendation for older adults is slightly over 7 cups of water per day.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Making sure 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 healthy 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 changes in condition
- And more
Help an older adult you love remain healthy and well with a little assistance from our care specialists! Give us a call at 361-643-2323 to request a cost-free in-home assessment and for more information on the numerous ways we can help.