Itching. Burning. Urgency. If you’ve ever endured the misfortune of experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), you recognize these symptoms all too well. For younger individuals, a UTI is generally fairly easy to recognize and take care of. However, it is often more challenging for older adults, as symptoms of a UTI in seniors can be more subtle and significantly different in the way they present.
Symptoms of a UTI in Seniors
Besides the typical warning signs of a UTI, like those mentioned above, seniors might also experience:
- Discolored urine
- Pain when urinating
- Pelvic pressure
- Confusion or delirium
- Social withdrawal
- And other behavioral changes
Without treatment, UTIs in older adults can bring about extremely serious complications, such as damage to the kidneys, kidney disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for a UTI in Seniors
Older adults are far more susceptible to UTIs when they have:
- Immune system changes
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and in contact with different types of bacteria
- Been diagnosed with a UTI in the past
- A urinary catheter
- Specific health problems, such as incontinence
If You Suspect a UTI in a Senior…
Consult with his or her physician as soon as possible for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria found will determine the best treatment solution, which could include one of many different medications (given intravenously in the event that infection is severe) along with antipsychotic drugs to help with delirium and confusion.
But as the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These tips can help the older adults you love avoid a UTI:
- Drinking a good amount of fluid throughout each day, especially plain water. The recommendation for older adults is a little over 7 cups of water per day.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Making sure underwear and/or incontinence pads are dry, and changing immediately when they become wet.
- Urinating as soon as 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 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 alterations in condition
- And more
Help a senior you love stay healthy and well with a little support from our care professionals! Contact us at 314-432-4312 to request a cost-free in-home assessment to learn more about the countless ways we can help.