My 89 year old mom with dementia has a chronic UTI. This has been going on for months and months. As soon as she's done with her antibiotics a week later it's back. Her dementia is getting so bad now I never know if her confussion, etc is from that or the UTI. Has anyone had a love one who has UTI's end up with kidney infections?
She lives in Assisted Living, and is receives Hospice pallative care. Her dementia is getting very bad, and she thinks she is being moved to different places all the time. She is starting to realize her mind isn't quite right, and she's so scared. I feel so bad for her.
I don't know about kjhinshaw's mother, but a shower every single day would be too hard on my 93 year old Mom's skin, no matter what kind of soap was use. She would be out of her mind with itching from drying skin. Body lotion would not take care of it. That said, every day "bottom" washing would be great. But, my mom lives on her own, and won't allow her twice a week help to give her any kind of bath, and my sister and I live across the country. She won't shower while the help is anywhere in the house either. Very stubborn woman, my mom.
my mom also has poor hygiene that she just WILL NOT change... i.e. wiping back to front, not wanting to change underwear. not to mention being a lifelong refuser to hand wash after toileting. double arrrrgggg.
since giving her the cranberry pills and being dedicated to daily underwear changes, she has been UTI free for a long time.
lastly, i had her physician provide her with a standing order for urinalysis testing at her hospital (kaiser permanente here in northern california), and the lab let me take half a dozen urine sample jars to have on hand... (NOT that getting a sample from my mom is a picnic; more like a crazy-ass scene from a '70s woody allen movie... but i digress :)
not sure what "pills" @Reverseroles what speaking to above. just my two cents.
~doting daughter, always learning
My mom also doesn't drink enough water. I buy her the little 8 oz bottles so she can hold them, and I bet she only drinks 2 a day. Everyone is always on her to drink water. Sh tries but she really doesn't like it. Like your mom, she thinks she's drinking water all day long. I recently got her some Gatorade and she seems to like it for a change.
She was also on a daily antibiotic for awhile, but it didn't seem to do any good at all. She still got the UTI. I feel like she's kept pretty clean. She gets showers 3 times a week. I know the aid who showers her said she makes sure she's kept clean down there, but who knows what really goes on. Most of the time she's incontinent, but they do seem to come pretty quick when she presses her call button. She usually can't hold it long once she gets the urge.
I know what you mean about those around us getting tired of hearing about this all the time. I have a great husband who's been amazingly helpful and understanding, but I know he's getting tired of it all. He never complains, but does think I should take more time for myself. That's hard to do though. I feel so consumed by her 24/7 even though she's in assisted living.
Like you said, there are so many on this forum that have it soooo much worse. I don't know how they cope. I'm at my wits end, and it's not nearly as bad as most. I feel some better just knowing there are a few others like you who are having some of the same exact issues.
They just took another urine sample today, and I'm 100% sure it will show another UTI.
Thanks for your responses. Take care of yourself, and I hope all goes well for you and your mom on your visit over the holidays.
Yep, they are two peas in a pod. I did finally take my mom to a urologist last summer. We found that she is not emptying her bladder completely when she goes to the bathroom which means bacteria stays in there and causes infection. Common problem, but I don't know what one can do about it. That might be the cause of her UTI's along with her poor hygiene (not taking showers for days on end even though she thinks she has). She has not had a UTI since mid-summer, that we know of, and the only thing I can think of that is different is that the urologist prescribed a daily probiotic and changed her daily low dose antibiotic to 100mg of Trimethoprim, which was never tried by her primary care docs. I take her back there over the holidays when I am visiting and we will find out for sure if she is UTI free.
In my investigations of UTI's, the one thing I have been told over and over is that drinking plenty of fluids is the key to getting rid of these things. Tough to do with the elderly. They lose their sense of thirst and don't want to drink anything. In my Mom's case, she *thinks* she is drinking 8 glasses of water a day when in fact it is more like 12 ounces plus 12 ounces of milk and a cup of coffee, which doesn't count towards liquid intake.
I understand about feeling like you are going nuts. We love our Moms and we worry and stress about their dementia. The hard part is our friends and family get tired of listening to us vent about it. I understand that. This site has been a godsend to me. It may not give me definitive answers, but I can read others experiences and see that many other folks are going through the same things, or worse than I. Somehow this site has destressed me. The problems with Mom are still there, but I find I am better at dealing with her now, and I am less stressed. Family doesn't have to listen to me carrying on about my worries so much any more.
That said, Maui sounds lovely....ahhh....if only......nice pipe dream :)
Your mom sounds just like mine. I think even if I try to explain to her when she doesn't have the confusion, she also will not believe there was ever anything wrong with her. And when she is in the confusion, trying to explain anything to her is impossible. She won't even believe how sick she was a couple of years ago when she almost died, and this began. She says if she had been that sick she'd remember it! :-) I'm pretty sure my mom has yet another UTI because she's really bad right now. Calling me 3-4 times a day with all sorts of crazy stuff. Does your mom seem to get the UTI soon after she takes the round of antibiotics? I'm beginning to wonder if my mom's UTI ever really clears up. I'll tell you one thing.......I'm about ready to get a one way ticket to Maui! :-) I feel like I'm going nuts myself. Take care.
The the UTI symptoms ease back when treated. I have tried talking to her about her UTI's in her lucid periods. She really cannot understand what I am talking about. She doesn't "feel" the confusion or forgetfulness. She doesn't "feel" that she is more agitated or emotional. I liken it to when a person is ill with a high fever. One really isn't aware of how sick one is, and doesn't remember all that went on.
Ay yi yi. I wish you all the best.
Below is a citation to, a quotation from, an article that lays out the problem and provides some medical back up in case the ALF is dismissive. If you look on the internet, you will find lots of articles noting the correlation and the fact that many people are unaware that UTIs may appear as dementia.
from: Doctor raises awareness of link between dementia, urinary tract infections
"The connection between dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, and urinary tract infections is not as widely understood as it probably should be, said Dr. Rajesh Tampi, director of psychiatry for Masonicare.
The link between dementia and urinary tract infections was made nearly 20 years ago, and while general awareness is improving, “it should be better,” said Tampi.
“Information should be spreading faster, but it’s not caught up that much.”
Lack of attention to hygiene, which those with dementia can be susceptible to, is a more obvious link to the risk for infection.
But, particularly in older people, the symptoms of a urinary tract infection can often be misidentified as a sign of dementia, said Tampi.
A significant difference between the two is that confusion brought on by an infection will come about much more quickly than the confusion resulting from dementia, a much more slowly progressing affliction.
“There are very few dementias that are rapidly progressing,” said Tampi. “Nobody gets dementia in three days to a week.”
Bacteria infecting the urinary tract also seep into the blood stream. Blood vessel walls weaken as people age, and vessels in the brain become more permeable, thus the link between an infection and increased confusion.
So if an older person is displaying signs of confusion, it isn’t necessarily connected to dementia. Other conditions that can lead to a more sudden onset of confusion in the elderly include strokes, pneumonia and a change in medications.
Tampi said 25 percent of the patients admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Masonicare Health Center have urinary tract infections. Older women are at higher risk, he said. It’s important that older patients receive a complete medical work up to help identify the causes of problems, he said."
I am glad that I can help. I am not in the medical field but work as a consultant to the elderly and their families, helping them organize for the transition to old age. The first thing I would do, if I were you, is tell your mom about this. It will likely reassure her greatly. It is one thing to suffer from dementia but another to experience dementia or psychosis as a side effect from the UTI and the latter is much less disturbing to most elderly people since it doesn't mean that they are losing their minds but instead having a side effect. Let me know if the people at the assisted living facility are not familiar with this phenomenon so I can send you some studies to share with them.
I am afraid I don't know any really good solution to avoiding her getting the UTIs but I would definitely have her thoroughly checked out by the appropriate specialists and make sure that her doctor is not stingy with the antibiotics.
Good luck to you.
Interestingly, one of the ways the UTI-induced psychosis/dementia manifests itself is a feeling of being relocated. I had a client who kept wondering why all the rooms looked the same. In fact she was in the same room all along but was sure that she was being put in different rooms that all looked the same. I know this is small solace but at least you know what is causing the dementia/psychosis. Stay on top of the doctors to be sure to get her the antibiotics as soon as possible. Best of luck to you.