Itching. Burning. Urgency. If you have ever had the bad luck of suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know these symptoms well. For younger individuals, a UTI is often fairly easy to detect and treat. However, it is often more difficult for seniors, as the signs and symptoms of a UTI in the elderly are often less apparent and even significantly different in how they present.
Signs and Symptoms of UTI in Elderly Individuals
On top of the typical warning signs of a urinary tract infection, such as those noted above as well as pain or irritation when urinating, pressure in the pelvic area, and discolored urine, seniors may also experience:
- Delirium or confusion
- Withdrawal from social events
- And other personality changes
If not treated, UTIs in seniors can cause very serious complications, including damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Senior UTI Risk Factors
Seniors tend to be more vulnerable to urinary tract infections when they have:
- Compromised immune systems
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and in contact with different sorts 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…
Get in touch with his or her health care provider right away for a urine test to confirm the diagnosis. The type of bacteria present will determine the best 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.” These steps can help the older adults you love avoid contracting a UTI:
- Drinking enough fluids throughout each day, particularly plain water. The suggestion for seniors is a little over 7 cups of water each day.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol and caffeine.
- Ensuring underwear and/or incontinence pads are dry, and changing immediately when they become wet.
- Urinating as soon as the need arises (for continent seniors).
- Transportation to procedures, tests, and medical appointments
- Picking up prescriptions and running other errands
- Preparing balanced meals and ensuring sufficient hydration
- Assisting with personal care needs, such as incontinence care and other hygiene needs
- Companionship for enjoyable activities as well as to monitor for and report any changes in condition
- And more
Help an older adult you love remain healthy and well with a little help from our care specialists! Give us a call at 785-286-2273 to request a complimentary in-home consultation for more information on the numerous ways we can help.