As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take care of our bodies. If you are close to an elderly person, you need to understand how to take care of them. With increasing age, our bodies may not be and reliable as they once were, and one example is going to the bathroom.
As people grow older, their pelvic muscles can weaken, which causes them to become less able to control their urges to go to the bathroom. This can lead to problems like a UTI or even something more serious. So it’s vital to understand how to prevent and diagnose UTI infections in seniors.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
One of the most critical tips for helping to prevent a urinary tract infection is to be sure to keep the genital area clean and dry at all times. For women, it’s important to always wipe from the front to the back because it helps to prevent the spread of bacteria.
In keeping that area clean, you want to be diligent, in particular if the person in question has loose bowel movements. That’s because bacteria can be transferred easily if not cleansed properly. By keeping you or your loved one clean and dry, you can help to prevent urinary tract infections.
If a person has diabetes, they also run a higher risk for developing a UTI because the sugar in their urine can cause bacterial growth. Individuals who have a catheter also run a higher risk for developing an infection. Finally, another reason why older individuals are at greater risk for urinary tract infections is the fact that they have a weaker immune system.
For all of these reasons, it’s crucial to follow tips that can help to prevent a UTI for an elderly person. Drinking water is of course one of the best way to prevent them. The water helps to continually flush the system and dilute the urine which means that bacteria find a less fertile environment to grow.
In addition, be sure to avoid beverages which could irritate the bladder, such as caffeine an alcohol. Adding cranberry juice or cranberry supplement to the diet is also another way to combat the risk of infection.
But of course, if those don’t work, it’s important to understand the warning signs and symptoms of a UTI. Ignore it can not just lead to pain, but especially for seniors, can actually result in life-threatening infections.
Some of the most common symptoms to look for are painful urination, frequency, cloudy urine, and even a foul smell. However, many older individuals may not experience these symptoms.
In that case, it’s important to know that a UTI can also lead to a fever. This type of fear can actually cause older people to begin to make incoherent statements, or exhibit symptoms like those associated with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The fever occurs when the bacteria is moving out of the urinary tract and crossing into the blood. Confusion can occur, and many older people may not be properly diagnosed in the beginning which can make the situation increasingly dangerous. If this bacteria spreads into the blood, it can actually lead to sepsis. This can lead to a life-threatening situation, so it’s important to get treatment right away.
If your patient or loved one suffers from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, monitoring their behavior is crucial. For them, the normal symptoms like pain and frequency may not present themselves; rather, they will develop the fever and have added agitation, confusion, or even hallucinations. So it’s vital that if you notice a sudden and severe change in their behavior, to consider getting them tested right away for a UTI.
A urinary tract infection can happen to anyone, but seniors tend to be significantly more susceptible. Therefore, it’s critical to understand what to look for, especially for those who suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, to make sure they seek treatment immediately.