Itchiness. Burning. An urgent need to use the bathroom. If you’ve ever endured the misfortune of experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), you understand these symptoms well. For younger adults, a UTI is often reasonably easy to notice and deal with. However, it can be more challenging for seniors, as symptoms of a UTI in older adults can be less obvious and even vastly different in the way they present.
Symptoms of a UTI in Seniors
Aside from the typical symptoms of a UTI, such as those noted above along with burning or pain when urinating, pelvic pressure, and discolored urine, seniors may also experience:
- Confusion or delirium
- Withdrawal from social events
- And other behavioral changes
Left untreated, UTIs in seniors can result in very serious complications, such as kidney damage, disease or sepsis.
Risk Factors for UTI in Seniors
Seniors are more susceptible to UTIs if they have:
- Immune system changes
- Been in the hospital or in a care facility and exposed to 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 health care provider as soon as possible for a urine test to verify the diagnosis. The type of bacteria present will determine the optimal treatment solution, which may include one of several different medications (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.” The following tips can help the older adults in your life avoid a urinary tract infection:
- Drinking plenty of fluids throughout each day, especially plain water. The recommendation for older adults is slightly over 7 cups of water each day.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Ensuring 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 medical appointments, tests, and procedures
- Errand-running and prescription pickups
- Preparing nutritious 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 monitor for and report any alterations in condition
- Plus many more
Help an older adult you love stay healthy and thriving with a little help from our care professionals! Contact us at 410-756-0959 to request a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about the countless ways we can help.