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Hi. My 92 year old mom felt weak and called the ambulance a few weeks ago. Turns out she had a UTI. (Urinary Tract infection). Her doctor gave her anti-biotiics. She felt fine for about 5 days and now is back to being tired, little appetite, thirsty. She doesn't notice any urinary infection or vaginal changes.

I suggested she get some good vitamin C and eat yogurt to get some probiotics going. Anyone have any suggestions?

She sounds very depressed.

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My mom's doctor suggested a daily probiotic to counter antibiotics and to keep the gut bacteria on the up and up. Mom was really bad at handwashing; had the doc lecture her on that and bought her loads of nice smelling liquid hand soaps and hand sanitizers. Someone who says "I'm not going to live much longer" is possibly depressed. Please take her to see a geriatric psychiatrist who can check this out along with any cognitive changes that are going on.
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A good indicater of dehydration is the state of the skin. As we age our sking developes that wrinkled sagging look and I am no exception. This is specially pronounced if there has been a significant weight loss. If you are able to pinch up a fold of skin and it remaines unless the elder moves they are probably dyhydrated. he care with those who bruise easily. it would be nice if they coild be persuided to drink a couple of 16 oz lasses of water over the next 2-4 but i can tell you it aint gonna happen. Personally I hate water but will drink tea ginger ale (avoid caffinated soda, almond chocolate milk (lactose intolerent) I have difficulty swallowing and find room temperature or warm drinks go down well. Don't have diabetes and never has a UTI but there is a first time for everything. Don't want to overload on fluids because they may pop me into heart failure. It is a very fine balance between old habits, current medical conditions and personal preference and plain forgetting or not wanting to do it. All the caregiver can do is make sure a suitable beverage is at hand and others offered regularily and assistance to the bathroom. Nagging is plain annoying and usually ignored. If Mom truly does not have dementia and I would have my doubts whatever the Dr says unless she has passed an evaluation with flying colors she certainly does KNOW what is best for her and even if her memory is not what it was she still understands.
As for the shower however luxurious the facilities,she does not think she is dirty and it is a pain to do it herself. Will she accept help? I know she CAN do it but it is nice to be fussed over sometimes. Although UTIs are very common in elderly women cleanliness goes a long way towards prevention. make sure she has a food supply of wipes by the toilet in an easily opened container where she can reach them. In front of her where she can reach them maybe on a small table or shelf. It's hard to reach behind if you are over weight or stiff. Likewise wiping from front to back can become impossible. You can no longer raise yourself a little off the seat and do it from the front. Your arms are too stiff and bent to reach behind and not long enough , it can be a real battle. That is where a bidet can be invaluable but useually not accepted. The next best thing and I don't know what it is called is one of those devices that has a clamp on the end and you can attach paper or wipes. It may take a bit of practice and the elder needs to be aware to use that but it can be done. Remember all those grab bars you had installed in grandma's bathroom last year so she would not fall and break a hip. Well when she gets up off the toilet she has to pull with all her might on those bars to stand up off the toilet. Give these facilities you so lovingly installed a trial run yourself before you wonder why your loved one does certain things a certain way - there is a method in her madness. Would you like to sit in one of those walk in tubs while the water ran out before you could open the door and get out or sit on that helpfully provided seat and try to wash yourself when you cant reach the water.
In the same way instructions are written by engineers or translated from the chinese for your shiny new appliance. handicap accessories seen rarely to be designed by the habdicapped. have you ever wondered why a handicapped stall with a nice raised toilet and suitable bars has a toilet roll placed so low you would probably fall on your head if you tried to bend down and use it. Note pull off sufficient TP before you sit down.
Sorry I ranted off subject once again but do think all these things are relevent to preventing UTIs.
Enjoy your UTI filled days everyone.
The sun is shining here but there is an inch of snow on the ground. I hope Lowes remembered to take their tomato plants in last night or they will be all wilted on the clearance shelf this morning and no summer help it is not because they didn't get watered.
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Thanks everyone. Great info and suggestions!!
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Our experience with my husband's mother is typical of most older ones - she has difficulty getting up and down and therefore to avoid having to get up and down, she does not drink enough. Of course, she says she drinks ALL THE TIME - but I see the color of her urine and it is obvious she does not drink enough fluids.

She 'nurses' one large glass of water nearly all day long and then tells us she has refilled it several times. :0) I don't think there is a real answer as far as what to do. I have stopped 'hovering' and 'fussing' over her - her doctor says she does not have dementia, is a big girl and knows what she should be doing. So, we have stopped pestering her about it.

We do give her a pro-biotic daily and she eats yogurt several times a week.

We recently found some flavored sparkling water (no sweeteners - real or artificial) at Costco. She likes it and it keeps her from drinking soda pop. A person does get tired of drinking plain water.

Unfortunately, she does have mini crises 2-4 times a year requiring an ER visit - not always for a UTI - but invariably, when they check her out - she is dehydrated! Sometimes it requires hospitalization to get her back in shape again. And all the while she will be telling them how much she drinks - so much that she feels water logged :0)

One thing that we have done for several years now that seems to help keep the UTI's at bay is giving her cranberry fruit extract twice a day - am/pm (it can be purchased very inexpensively at Wal Mart or Sam's or Costco). I think this has helped her a lot.

Also, we had to have a discussion about her shower frequency. She wants to just shower once a week. I delicately explained that once a week was not enough and was definitely not enough for her health and well-being 'down there.' A a sponge bath probably just wasn't good enough.

She has a lovely walk in shower with padded seat and hand held shower and it is even HEATED - so I am not sure why she is so reluctant to take a shower. She can handle the task herself - the shower is large enough to accommodate her walker and she can stay in there with the heat on until she is nice and dry - no chills. Once she started showering twice a week - things improved too.

So, for UTI's - cleanliness, fluids and cranberry fruit. Be careful with juices. Even cranberry juice is sweet. Most people could never drink 'real unsweetened' cranberry juice. Sugar entourages bacterial growth. OJ is the worst. That's why we use the extract in capsules.

And yes, being 'loopy' goes with a UTI for an older one. Any kind of infection can spell disaster mentally. They can appear 'dull' when dehydrated too.
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my aunt is going thru this right now and im sure i saw her wipe after a BM the other day with a forward motion. instead of trying to tell a near 90 yr old person how to wipe their azz i think ill try to get her to use adult wipes in the future.
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Couple of things to add. you mentioned that she is thirsty. Has she been checked for diabetes? Those nasty little bugs love the nice sugary urine. One word of caution about cranberry juice. No one who is taking blood thiners - warfarin etc should take cranberry juice. it enhances the warfarin and makes unwanted bleeding more likely
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Hi there, I'm a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant working in geriatric rehab and long-term care. The effects of a UTI in this population are very dramatic and almost always effect a person's cognitive level, sometimes it can seem as if they developed dementia in a matter of days.
From my experience, it's important to address why your mom got the UTI in the first place - is it physical, cognitive, or both?
Not to be indelicate, but wiping incorrectly after a BM, not wiping/washing well enough, or not changing into clean underwear can cause bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Possibly she's lost her physical ability to clean herself, and/or she's not as aware of her hygiene as she once was.
As far as the medications not working, here are a few thoughts. It's very common for elderly people to forget to take their medications and not even realize they've forgotten, but when the caregiver/family asks about it the person will certainly answer "well yes, of course i took them". So unless you actually see her put them in her mouth you can't really be sure (which is hard when you live away from each other). She also may be reintroducing the infection by continuing the same wiping technique. A couple people mentioned dehydration, which is a huge problem for all of us, but especially the elderly population, they simply don't remember to drink non-caffinated fluids, or it's too much effort for them, but they will say they drink plenty.
You mentioned that she tells you very little, this is a big red flag for me that something more is going on. I don't mean to say that she's lying, but likely she's doing whatever she can to hide her decline because she's afraid if anyone finds out she'll be put in a nursing home. Try to help her understand that if she will allow a little help now it will avoid a disaster that could force her out of her home over night. Most people think it's all or nothing, i.e. my home my way or locked in a nursing home.
There are several cognitive tests that are very very accurate at determining how much help a person needs. These tests need to be administered by a professional who is well trained and experienced, your best bet is and Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR), Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), and some Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) specialize in cognitive rehab. The most important thing is to confirm they are experienced. The two tests we use are recognized by the medical community for their validity are; Cognitive Performance Test (CPT), and the Allen Cognitive Level (ACL). If a patient refuses to take a test or quits part way through, those are also indicators of decreased cognitive levels. A good therapist will be able to throughly explain to you what the test scores mean and how they will help you to understand the amount of help your mom needs to be safe. They can also asses her physical limitations and give solutions for those issues. For help, try calling the rehab department director at some local care facilities.
Lastly, her comment about dying anyway… maybe acknowledge that you know it's going to happen soon, but ask her if she'll please let you help her so the process can be as comfortable as possible.
Best wishes, you're doing a great job! Sorry if this is way more info than you wanted : )
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water water water. the elderly suffer dehydration a lot. my mom had numerous utis. the antibiotic may not always work, make sure her cultures are checked again when she feels better. the dr. told me and iv'e confirmed on the WebMD I go to a lot for information there are so many strains of bacteria for utis that they have to pinpoint which antibiotic works. my mom is on a antibiotic everyday for this and guess what she got a uti anyways,the dr. said if it's not that virus strain it won't work. elderly people show symptoms of dementia also when they have a uti..woke me up quick. you can google that it will shock you how many elderly are in nursing homes for dementia when all they have is a uti. stay on top of this, but remember juices and pop dehydrate if taken too often juices in a lot of cases can cause diarrhea .if she is tired that may be a sign of dehydration. also I learned from the dr. [which I never knew] licking your lips is a sign of dehydration in everyone i would not crush my pills for my mom when everyone said wouldn't she swallow them better that way because this way she drank more water to get it down..hope that doesn't sound mean swallowing was not a problem as far as throat is concerned don't want you to think I'm a b.
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Not unusual for the elderly to have a UTI-and they don't get the normal symptoms-more often the tiredness, the Bx issues for some, seldom the burning and frequency ......she probably should take some probiotics whenever on antibiotics to prevent other issues, as the antibiotics ruin the intestinal flora-if she doesn't want to drink the cranberry juice (need a lot to be effective) there are cranberry tabs at the health food store and many regular grocery and drug stores, that are stronger and easy to take...most of all, DRINK lots of fluids -preferable water for most of it-but , whatever she will take...the elderly are hard to get fluids into"then I have to go to the bathroom too much....can't hurt to follow up with the Dr if it keeps up
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I also had her buy a rose hip based vitamin C and take 500 mgs, three times a day.
she is starting that idea today. I think the anti-biotics wipe out all the good flora and fauna and that's why she is weak and tired now. How else should she boost her immune system? What do you say to her when she says, "I'm not going to live much longer anyways."
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Thanks for responding, Jessie. I think she did take antibiotic for a week or so. Mom doesn't have the symptoms of burning or peeing more often: at least that I know of. She is living alone and tells me very little. I did find unsweetened cranberry juice for her at Trader Joe's and she took it. But thanks for reminding me. I'll remind her to buy more.
I remember taking fresh corn silk and making a tea to relieve the pain of a URI when I was younger. Not a good time of year yet for fresh corn though.
Mom's doc appointment is for next week.
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Juddha, has she gone to her doctor for a follow-up? I wondered how long she took the antibiotic. The normal course is for 10 days with the two that are most commonly used. My mother had to go a couple of days longer when she had a bladder infection before the symptoms left.

When it comes to UT health, cranberries are the way to go. I remember once hearing that a little glass of cranberry juice was very good for acidifying the urine and preventing bacteria from getting established.
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