My mother had sepsis followed by 3 UTI's in the past 4 months. Her cognitive level seemed to decline permanently after the last two UTI's. The staff at the nursing home tells me they see some people with dementia decline permanently after a UTI. It seems to me that this has happened to my mother. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one who has dementia? She is 91 yrs old.

Absolutely. My dad was living independently, driving, etc in early July 2020. He got a UTI the second week of July that, untreated, led to DKA and a one week hospitalization and 2 month rehab stay, and was completely unable to live independently after that. One fall with brain bleed from a second UTI, leading to major depressive disorder in November, and he’s now bedridden, incontinent, and unable to remember things for more than 3 minutes (except that we still should have one daggone box of tastycakes left when I lie and tell him they are gone because he’s always had 4 today)
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Reply to Carolann2244

My first thought was like JoAnn’s in that it’s probably the same initial UTI and she gets treated so she seems better but it never has cleared entirely.

I’d suggest that you ask to get a full bacterial panel done AND in it test to see if she has C Diff. (Clostridium Difficile)
On the C Diff, often UTI meds kill off the UTI causing bacteria but reduce the good bacteria and they then get C. Diff but get a milder case of it. If it’s C diff, they’re going to want her hospitalized as it’s nasty contagious and just too easily spread in a NH so treatment done in a hospital for 1-3 weeks or so. C diff tends to be a guys disease way way more than women, so they may not have run labs looking for C diff on her. Should that happen the NH can do a “hold” on her bed. It’s not necessarily done automatically, so clearly speak with the NH on this should she go into the hospital.
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Reply to igloo572

With anyone that age any medical crisis is going to affect them long-term. They just don't bounce back anymore. My mother's dementia has never worsened gradually. Instead, it takes a deep dive with any medical or emotional crisis, such as the death of my dad, and plateaus at that new lower level.
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Reply to MJ1929

My Mom suffered a big decline with a UTI just recently. It is too soon say if she will recover any of it, but the caregiver told me they often don't.
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Reply to chdottir

Ask if a culture is being done to determine what type of bacteria is causing the problem. They usually start with a broad spectrum antibiotic. Antibiotics by mouth may not be enough. She may need it by IV. Then, are they trying to prevent them. My Mom was given cranberry tablets and a probiotic.

Until the UTI gets cleared up, you will not know how far Moms decline is. I don't think its 3 separate UTIs. I think its the same one not being cleared up. The last time my Mom had one, she was catherized to get every drop of the infected urine out. Then on IV for 3 days in the hospital.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Many times after any illness a person with dementia does not return to the previous "baseline" This might be due to the illness taking a lot of energy to recover from but it could also be that during the same time span the person might have declined just as much. And during the illness there may have been undiagnosed mini strokes that caused some of the decline as well.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Hello parentson457,

I am so sorry you are going through this with your mom :(

When my dad was hospitalized after an incident where he lost touch with reality and thought the people on the tv were coming after him, they found that he had a UTI. My dad was in mid stage dementia at that point. Since then, I’ve read many articles on UTIs in elderly people, and from what I understand, UTIs, in elderly people, bring out identical symptoms of dementia, and magnifies dementia in those that already suffer from it. I am no expert, but, in all my readings, I didn’t read anything about how a UTI would cause any kind of permanent damage.

Are they sure the last UTI has cleared up?

I hope others will come and help give you some insight.
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Reply to HereForDad

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