Follow
Share

I had no idea what an UTI infection can do to the elderly. They can see things that aren't there, make them think crazy thoughts and even change the personality. My mom was doing all kinds of crazy things, getting dressed all by herself in the middle of the night, walking around the house at night and wanting to eat at 3:00 am. I finally noticed that her urine smelled terrible and took her to the doctor asking them to check for UTI. They did and sure enough had to put her on antibiotics. Now her actions are back to normal and I can finally get to sleep at night. PLEASE, if your parent is acting strange, more strange than usual, take them in to check for UTI. UTIs in the elderly are often mistaken as the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, according to NIH, because symptoms include:
Confusion, or delirium-like state
Agitation
Hallucinations
Other behavioral changes
Poor motor skills or dizziness
Falling
Sometimes, these are the only symptoms of a UTI that show up in the elderly—no pain, no fever, no other typical symptoms of a UTI.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
I notice this is an old thread. I'm replying for a bump as I think the information listed regarding symptoms is very good - and information anyone with an elderly person in their life should know. The first time I had to deal with this was with my dad. So unexpected cause just women get UTIs, right? At least that's what I had stupidly thought. Beyond that I was stunned by what a UTI can do to a normally rational thinking persons mind - at first I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. My father was in a rehab and he called me thinking he was in my old college town, spending the night at my sorority and that all the nurses were my sorority sisters. I think I broke the sound barrier driving to the rehab, thinking daddy had lost his mind - if I only knew then what I know now.
(0)
Report

Can you call emergency to have her evaluated? Or can you ring her regular doctor and ask his guidance? Are you in Ireland or GB?
(0)
Report

My mam is85 she thinks she goes to another house like hers.Has all the same furniture and everything.Could this be water infection she takes insulin for diabetic and HP tablets just started a couple of weeks ago.Its not all the time her memory is good.Please help me.
(1)
Report

Thank you for your concern, 3kidsma. I spoke to the NH Dr and informed me that she looked in my mom tonite. Moms showed her pain level was lessened when she asked mom mom. Her spirits were better and she was eating some crackers.
The dr suggested to put my mom take remoras for anti depressant and appetite stimulant. Well she is on celexa. This remoras was given to her before and all it did for her is sleeeeep. I asked her to please wait on the the med. till I will speak to the dietician. Back in April te dr gave her that medicine and it was switched to just a " appetite enhancer. "that acts only for a appetite enhancer by itself . So
she did and that's my assignment for tomorrow.
Take care
Thx to all who listened.
Equinoc
(0)
Report

Equinox, good luck, keep us posted. It's so hard when they are in pain and nothing can be found. Take care.
(0)
Report

3kidsma, They did that for my mom also, but it took since this past monday thru Wednesday. Yesterday they were successful. Today's I received the results. It's said it was negative. I am looking in to see for an orthopedic to check in on my moms pain. I will not give up till I know for sure I have looked at all the necessities for this type of pain she is experiencing in her hip.
Equinox
(0)
Report

She had just hemorraged in her bed, and had lots of blood in her urine. Drs. checked everywhere, said it's from her bladder. My Mom's Drs, go into her bladder and collect a sample when she can't pee on her own.
(1)
Report

3kidsma.....what kind of hemorage can this cause? It's getting really hard for them to collect urine from my mom for testing now since she has a hard time urinating on the toilet. I'm pretty sure she has one now, and they've been trying to collect for over a week. Plus when they tell her they need to collect the urine she gets herself all worked up and then can't pee for sure. My fear is she will eventually end up with kidney damage.
(0)
Report

My Mom is 85 and has dementia, chronic uti's. She hemoraged from one this week and is currently in the hospital. They just whack her poor little mind out. So sad.
(0)
Report

My mom has had a chronic UTI for months and months. She has dementia so her mind isn't that great to begin with, and when she has the UTI she is crazy. She's living in an Assisted Living facility and is on Hospice Care. She's wheel chair bound, and doesn't drink enough water, and is incontinent. She'll have the urge to pee, but by the time the aids get to her it usually too late. They have tried putting her on the low dose antibiotics to try to prevent, but it hasn't helped at all. It's not a fun situation, and my thoughts are with you. I can't begin to tell you all thet we've gone through because of this.
(0)
Report

UTI.s are a pain.I always know when my mom has one,because she is absolutely crazy.She,apparently has no symptoms,but i can tell,The problem is,she does not drink enough,because she knows it will sting,so she does not drink,and you need to flush it out.They have said at her nursing home,that they are considering keeping her on a low dose af antibiotics to try and avoid it.
(0)
Report

yes I totally agree. It's always been an issue for my mom to wipe correctly. the skill to wipe is not there for her. I had called placed a call to the dr on staff and the NH to have a u analysis done and a lumbar X-ray. it was done today within hrs. I haven't had any sleep knowing my mom is this kind of pain. the X-rays results came out neg and no unknown issues. We will see of the U test. the U test should show bladder and U infection. all her blood work looks good. No unknown issues. Thank you for bringing this topic up. We learn so much from each other.
Equinox
(1)
Report

Yes, UTI's can definitely bring on some terribly scary symptoms for elderly folks. My mom would constantly get them too and of course then the antibiotics they put her on would cause a whole new set of issues for her...like horrible yeast infections. Since moving her in with me we seem to be staying on top of those issues...and like what was said before, it's not a pretty subject, but if you have your elderly person in your home, it truly is a necessity to accompany them to the bathroom and help them wipe and clean up afterwards. It really does make a difference with the UTI's and other types of infections. We go through baby wipes like crazy, but it's better than dealing with the alternative. I remember one morning before getting things under control she got up to go potty in the morning and honestly, I thought she had had a stroke her behaviors were so odd. She couldn't seem to speak other than to say, "OK", and she couldn't seem to pick up her feet. It took over six months to clear up all her infections and get her back on track. Ours is not an easy road, but it sure makes me think more about my future...
(3)
Report

UTI's need more serious consideration than they are given and elderly caregivers need the information about them in advance of when we usually learn -i.e. after-the-fact!

In April of this year (2012), my 96 y/o mother had mild dementia and needed some assistance (relatively little) in her own home. She did not even use a cane, negotiated stairs daily (bi-level home) and still worked in her flower gardens & yard extensively. At the end of April she had a UTI that resulted in hallucinations and a 5 day hospital stay (she had been acting odd, but refused to go to a doctor prior to the hallucination stage when I dragged her to the ER). End of May was another bout of UTI that turned out to be a pseudomonas bacteria that took the hospital 6 days to diagnose. Her behavior became completely bizarre after 5 days in the hospital (hallucinations, delirium, hostility, paranoia -got to the point where she could not toilet or feed herself) and she was put into their Behavioral Unit where they treated her with anti-psychotics before she was finally started on an antibiotic. It was a nightmare and the psych Dr in the BU continued to administer anti-psychotics (whose side effects were, guess what? -hallucinations, delirium, aggression, etc) without advising us. I finally got bright enough to ask what was going on and raised a ruckus about it. That hospital event lasted 16 days, until almost mid-June. In mid-July she had another UTI and another 5 day hospital stay and was sent to a Nursing Home for rehab afterwards. The last week in July she was back in the hospital for another 5 day stay and then back to the Nursing Home to continue 'rehab.' She completed her 100 days rehab just last week and frankly has gone down-hill. Her mental and physical capabilities have deteriorated to the point where she can barely walk (says her 'feet stick to the floor'), mostly uses a wheelchair, and her dementia has progressed extensively -crys at everything, can't keep her in bed, has severe anxiety/agitation, trembling, depression, is obsessed with her BM's, won't use the call button for help and falls. You name it -horrible text-book dementia (no strokes). She's not my mom anymore, bless her baby-sweet heart.

Right now (FINALLY), she is on a low-dose antibiotic to hopefully lessen the chance for further UTI's, but the damage has already been done and it's now pretty apparent she is not going to recover mentally and will continue to regress. We're trying the Alzheimer's/Dementia Unit in an assisted living facility here, but are not sure if they will allow her to stay (5 falls in 5 days right now because she will not use the call button and just wants to cry to attract attention -a trick she learned at the NH). The staff at the ALF is much faster to respond than the NH because they have more staff, it's much quieter and nicer (and no stinky odor) and also more than $20,000 a year cheaper than the NH so we are keeping our fingers crossed that mom will be capable of acclimating to it. Her eval says she's still good enough for ALF, but it feels like she's working to prove the opposite. (sigh......)

If your loved one is having any of the symptoms, listed by Ireese above, get them to a doctor pronto. (b-t-w, dehydration & any infection can cause the same symptoms too). And further, the dip-stick test they perform in the office WILL NOT always identify a UTI. Some bacteria require a culture (and even then you have to hope the lab will identify it properly -it took 6 days on mom's pseudomonas and her Dr finally went down to the lab and identified it himself!!). Also, the bacteria must be identified to determine the specific antibiotic it is sensitive to -not all antibiotics will work on all the bacteria that cause UTI's. Hygiene is always a problem for the elderly -most don't wipe properly and sometimes they can't reach or use their hands sufficiently- so re-infection is always a possibility. I've read on the internet that a low dose of antibiotic over a long term provides the best protection and causes no problems. Mom's Dr has finally started her on it, but his method previously has been to treat each infection singly. In hindsight I feel that was a mistake and mom may have benefited earlier from the low dose. Discuss it thoroughly with your doctor.

Good luck to all!
(1)
Report

Recently my mom said she bumped into the door of bathroom. How she did that while sitting on wheelchair just doesn't make sence. As many times she describes her incident, it changes. NH dr brought in X-ray to check the area of pain. X-ray shows nothing broken, fracture etc. However, since this incident happened on Wednesday, she is still experiencing " poking pain " in her lower back. I am thinking it could be a bladder infection, or my worst fear is compression fracture. Every time she moves, it feels like a poke. everyday I'm there, she says she fell. And she says she get up from the floor by herself. Of course, the aids and roommate says they never have seen her fall. I have asked her, did you tell anyone? She assures me she did not, cause everybody is busy to bother them. I don't know what to think. She is still in pain when I get there. her nurse will tell me she does not complain of pain and is up and around.Anybody have suggestions?
Thank you
Equinox
(0)
Report

Thanks for that tip. I am going to get my mom those cranberry capsules today. And the Septogard also just in case. I hope that works. Right now she is clear of the infection, but she will get it back again. I don't think taking all those antibiotics can be that good for you.
(0)
Report

So glad someone has raised this issue. My mother also wipes from back to front, drinks minimal water and used to have continual UTI's but I had no idea that the effects thereof could be so diverse. I found the simple preventative to UTI is to take Cranberry capsules daily, and ensure plenty of liquid - but NOT tea. Should the urine become foul and I suspect an infection, I dose her with a natural antibiotic called Septogard. Works like a charm, and no doctor expenses incurred. Both should be available at you health shop.
(2)
Report

My Mom is 85, gets UTI's every other month or so. Her bladder doesn't empty, causing bacteria to grow. She has dementia which has worsened because her med amiodarone has now caused hypothyroidism and created so many health issues. I have tried cranberry juice, the pills. She doesn't bathe regulary, she thinks she does. If I could catch them early enough, but she just doesn't realize what's going on, until she starts bleeding and then she thinks she has her period. It is very exhausting and frustrating that they can't be prevented And they do confuse her even more.
(2)
Report

My father is a widow and lives with me ever since Mom passed away 18 years ago. He is 85 years and has COPD and chronic arthritis. He is a wonderful patient, oh my God, compulsive with his pills (which I manage) for him; so when I noticed that he skipped taking some and then poured them into his orange juice,I was worried. In a matter of 3 days he detiorated quickly, sat on the edge of his bed, looking at his feet as if he had no muscle control. Would not take suggestions, was clearly confused in time and space and he mumbles but it really got bad. On the 3rd day just as I was thinking he had Alzheimer I remembered that it does not creep up on you in such an acute manner, that's when he got in the shower and a few minutes after, he fell. I could not pick him up so, called my husband who works luckily, quite near by and he rushed home. He had no fratures but his legs were so weak he could not stand. Wesettled him in bed, till he could catch his breadth and quietly my husband summarized all his syptoms and we said." OMG it could be a stroke". So off we went to the EMR room where he got all sorts of tests, CT scans, Brain MRI, etc. but he could not pee. So after 5 hours he finally did and he had a very strong UTI. I was informed that in elderly's it usually causes these symptons which they call an "acute dementia". With antibiotics and low-sodium diet he slowly went back to being himself. I was so relieved and happy to see him complaininig as usual, he is a natural whiner, but that was NORMAL.!!! So now I am always asking him, have you urinated, what's the color, you see the ironic thing with this is there is no fever, pain or indication that something is wrong and when finally the appearance might be cloudy their mental state does not allow them to assess this. So be aware and take a look once in a while and ask, ask, ask, observe, observe.
MLC, Reno. NV
(0)
Report

My 87 year old mom lived alone and was doing fine - no dementia, docs said she had long term & short term memory of 30 year old - only health problem was pacemaker and occasional shortness of breath when she exerted herself . After a day of taking her shopping and out to lunch, we came back to her house where she put her groceries away and I did paperwork and we had tea. I left about 5pm and she was fine. Next morning about 9am I got a voice mail from someone saying that my mom was outside yelling and screaming that her kitchen was flooded. I called the person back, thinking for sure that this person called the wrong number - couldn't be my mom. When person answered, she told me where she lived and gave me mom's name and said mom gave her my number. I was in shock. My immediate thought - she had a stroke. Was at mom's house within minutes and she was sitting in the kitchen cursing up a storm to two neighbors - mom never cursed and would never yell at anyone - except me - but that's a whole different topic & post. LOL I checked for signs of a stroke and saw none. I told her we needed to go to the ER for her to be checked as something was wrong. She kept insisting that her kitchen was flooded and kept cursing at everyone for not believing her. I did not want to call 911 as this wasn't an emergency and didn't want to tie up an ambulance, but she refused to let me or anyone take her. I went outside and called her friend and told her what was going on and if she could call mom and just act casual and when mom mentioned about the flood, to try to convince her to let me take her to ER. While I was outside, mom walked out on the porch and screamed at me and told me I shouldn't be calling people and talking about her. Now mind you she always "claims" she can't hear me when I'm in the same room, but now I was about 40 feet away; and she was coherent enough to even "think" about what I might be doing. Finally my cousin happened to call, I filled her in and within a minute she convinced mom I should take her to ER. Go figure! LOL Got to ER and she kept yelling and cursing at the staff and everyone in the waiting room. Finally got to see a doctor who checked for signs of a stroke, seizures and a UTI. BINGO!!!!! Severe UTI!!!! Doctor mentioned that many times elderly women do not have the usual burning sensation or bleeding and so they don't know they have a UTI. I was in shock of her drastic character change from 5pm until 9am next morning - doctor said this is what usually tips them off to check for a UTI - sudden character change. Doctor stated that it would take a while to clear it out, started her on strong antibiotics and admitted her. She was running around the hallway, never out of breath mind you (which was normal for her) , and yelling and hitting the nurses. I had to give permission to have her restrained either in a chair or bed. I couldn't believe this was my mom!!! This went on for about 36 hours and then back to normal like nothing ever happened. But then. . . . . C-diff!!!! The antibiotics kill both the bad and good bacteria, so now she had C-diff. Had to be in isolation, I had to mask and gown up, and had to be very careful sanitizing everything that was touched. Can be passed very easily. C-diff is a whole different subject and post but I just wanted to give you all insight on UTI's in elderly women and then the consequences of the antibiotics and possible c-diff.
(0)
Report

My 93 year old mother also suffers with chronic UTI's. The not so fun part is that she also has mild dementia which seems to be worsening since July. It is now difficult to tell if her behavior change is due to yet another UTI or as the urologist said, "the waxing and waning of her dementia". Her family has been scratching our heads as to WHY she has had so many, to no avail. Sh still lives at home alone, so we don't know what goes on. We suspect it is poor hygiene and not drinking nearly enough fluids. With her dementia, she believes she bathes every day and drinks a gallon of juice and water. She does neither when we are there for a week long visit. None of her family live nearby, so this is a tough thing. We hope and pray we can convince her to move into the ALC when her name comes up on the waiting list. Hopefully they will be able to see to it she bathes and drinks more fluids. UTI's in the elderly is a common problem I've learned. Good luck to all of you.
(0)
Report

my mom wipes back to front and that is where i think she gets the uti. now she wipes her front and i use baby wipes, have her stand up over the toilet and i wipe her rear. i know this is not a great subject, but needs to be out there so others are aware. uti's are terrible in elderly
(0)
Report

If we ALL would send letters to the government about this, and NOT STOP sending them until the..... POOR, INHUMANE care that is given by these facilities is stopped!!!! This should be addressed throught out this country! If we cannot get the same treatment for our family members as those who HAVE the means or those who are public figures, something is definetly WRONG!!! There is a saying "There's strength in numbers", well let our numbers start speaking,,, It might just help bring some badly needed CHANGE in this area! Get the news crews involved, they like these kind of stories..! I can't be the only one out there who has had this idea?!
(0)
Report

Equinox: I'm not elderly, but I once had a UTI that caused back pain. I thought I had hurt myself and ended up in the hospital for 10 days. The same thing happened to my daughter. So if in doubt I would have a urinalysis done. I almost didn't live through it, and if I had been elderly . . .
(0)
Report

My 92 year old grandmother keeps having these. Every other month the doctor has her on an antibiotic. She's crazy enough during the good months, but we know when one is coming on, she does really strange things. I just wish the doc could figure out why they keep coming back so often. She is in 4th stage renal failure and I wonder if that may have something to do with it. Anyway, good info to put out there, most people have no clue.
(1)
Report

I found that what causes many of mom's UTIs is that she wipes backward....when she poops and pottys, she wipes from BACK to FRONT. I've tried and tried to no avail to get her to wipe from front to back for years...doesn't work. And the NH won't help her with toileting. So, I just wait for the next one and take her back to dr.
Sad, huh?
(1)
Report

Is there anyway you can prevent this from happening? My mom had it several times now. I heard that cranberry juice is good for it. But she hates the taste of it.
(0)
Report

UTI's AND constipation can cause crazy behaviors. They are the two main problems in NHs. I went to visit mom on Friday and she was NOT a happy camper..she kept saying she needed to go poop. NH staff said they had just taken her and she had made a mess trying to pick poop out of her butt again..they had to give her a shower which really set her off. I was there to color her hair and as I did, watched her behaviors. It only took 20 min for me ..I went to the head nurse with mom's "constipation" problem" saying I think she is IMPACTED. Nurse said that they could not "dig it out" as we did in the old days when I was a CNA. So, off to ER we go. SIX hours later..after Xray showed blockage and ER doc DIGGING to see if he could get at least part of it out to get a suppository IN...she still hadn't got it out. FINALLY, when I went to grab a bite to eat downstairs, she had pooped the blockage out. I saw it as they saved it for me in the toilet. It was SOFTBALL size and dr. said he doesn't know how in the world she passed it. She was laughing and felt SO good after that!!! The suppositories helped get that out. But, she is still FULL of poo. I"m going back to NH today to check on her. It's sad that NH get paid almost 5K a month for her and couldn't even help. UGH!!
(2)
Report

Wow. I didn't know that. My Mom has chronic UTIs because she's incontinent. She will act crazy sometimes. I didn't realize that that could be the cause.
(2)
Report

My mom is experiencing shooting pains in her lower back. She said she bumped in a door. But the story she has given me doesn't make much sence. Nh dr orderd xrayand shows no evidence of fractures . I am wondering now if it's a bladder infection. Any suggestions. ?
(0)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter