Guide to Understanding Elderly UTI
A caregiver's guide to recognizing the symptoms of urinary tract infection and understanding the impact of UTI in older adults. Get expert advice and caregiver tips for signs of UTI in the elderly as well as prevention and treatment recommendations from the experience of other caregivers.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A UTI is an infection caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra. According to the Mayo Clinic urinary tract infection can occur at any point in the urinary system- kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra, but most infections involve the lower urinary tract.
Symptoms of a UTI
- A persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy, red, bright pink or cola-colored
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
Understanding UTI in the Elderly
UTIs are very common and can happen at any age; nearly 20% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime. Possibly due to incomplete emptying of the bladder or the hygiene challenges that present with incontinence, urinary tract infections account for for as much as 25% of all infections in the elderly. The difficulty in recognizing urinary tract infections in older adults is that they may not present with any of the physical symptoms represented in the list above. Instead, UTIs in the elderly usually present as fever accompanied by sudden changes in cognition, delusions, hallucinations, or other behavioral symptoms of UTI.
Delirium and UTI
Caregivers of older adults commonly cope with witnessing a loved one experience age related declines in functioning, therefore it can be challenging to rely on changes in cognition and orientation as signs of UTI. Oftentimes, those who are familiar with the baseline level of functioning of an older adult notice a decrease in reasoning that initiates panicked questions as to how their parent could have developed dementia overnight. Diagnostic appointments are made to determine the reason for this sudden shift in thinking and behavior. Delirium- the mental state represented by confusion and disorientation, however, is a common symptom of UTI in the elderly. In fact, many family caregivers in the Caregiver Forum point to this sudden change in mental state as the primary indicator that their elderly care recipient has a UTI. The good news for caregivers is that UTIs are treatable, and with treatment cognition usually returns to previous levels.
Unfortunately, recognizing the changes in behavior or cognition that point to UTI become more complex when caring for an older adult with an existing dementia diagnosis. Although dementia is a progressive disease, changes do not usually occur in a sudden manner. Consequently, rapid changes in thinking or behavior should always be a sign that a dementia caregiver should seek medical advice to rule out other medical conditions, especially a UTI. >> Dementia and UTI
UTI Treatment and Prevention
If your loved one is exhibiting signs of a urinary tract infection, a urine culture will determine the cause of the infection and proper course of treatment. Most UTIs are treated with antibiotics.
The AgingCare Caregiver Forum is a valuable resource for family caregivers looking for advice and tips for dealing with recurrent UTIs in an aging loved one. Caregivers offer tips on prevention, advice from their own experience and information on treatment that has helped them cope with caring for an elder with UTI.
Read more : UTI Questions From Caregivers
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Articles
UTIs in the Elderly: Signs, Symptoms and Treatments
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in seniors can cause serious health complications. Learn how to spot the behavioral and physical symptoms of UTI in elderly individuals and how to reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs.179 Comments
UTIs Cause Unusual Behavioral Symptoms in Elders
Seniors with urinary tract infections may not exhibit classic physical symptoms. Instead, confusion and mental and behavior changes can be the tell-tale signs of a UTI.29 Comments
UTIs and Dementia in Seniors: Impact and Treatment Options
Urinary tract infections (UTI) in elders with dementia can be challenging to diagnose. Learn how UTIs affect seniors and what treatment options can help prevent recurring infections.12 Comments
Home Remedies for Treating and Preventing Elderly UTI
Family caregivers share their tips, home-remedies and advice for preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTI) in older adults.6 Comments
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Questions
My Mom has had constant UTIs for many years. She will get off one antibiotic, then a few days later, another UTI. Any suggestions?45 Answers
UTI and dementia. Has anyone experienced this with a loved one who has dementia?7 Answers
Support/Advice needed: Mom is under hospice care (cancer) + other issues: CHF, dementia and diabetes.3 Answers
My mom had a bad UTI last year and she's been on antibiotics since then. Is it normal to have so many hallucinations and a lot of paranoia?5 Answers
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Discussions
Today Mom called the police because she was being confined. It would be funny if it weren't sad.7 Comments
I think Levofloxacin should be banned for senior citizens!3 Comments
UTI Meds experience5 Comments
It’s all new to me4 Comments