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How to Help Older Adults Manage Urinary Tract Infections

By , 9:00 am on

Seniors, particularly women, are at an increased risk for developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). There are several reasons for developing UTIs, including a weaker immune system, weaker bladder muscles, and underlying conditions that often develop with age. When a urinary tract infection is not treated properly, it can lead to damage of the kidneys and other organs. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection or you suspect he or she has one, here are some things you can do to help him or her manage it.

Know the Symptoms

It’s important to recognize a potential urinary tract infection as soon as possible so you can get your loved one to a doctor. While symptoms may not be as evident as they would be in a younger person, there are some signs to look out for, including cloudy or bloody urine, painful or burning urination, pelvic pressure, foul-smelling urine, and mental confusion. As a matter of fact, UTIs are often mistaken for dementia. Your loved one may or may not run a low-grade fever and experience chills or night sweats.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Huntington, WV, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Get to the Doctor

If your loved one experiences even one of the symptoms, it’s best to get to the doctor as soon as possible before the infection spreads or causes permanent damage. The doctor will generally check the urine for bacteria and, depending on your loved one’s age and current health status, prescribe antibiotics. In some cases, especially if the infection is severe, the doctor may recommend a hospital stay so your loved one can receive an IV drip of antibiotics. If your loved one can’t get an appointment with the doctor within 24 hours of seeing symptoms, you may want to take him or her to the emergency room instead.

Urinary tract infections can make it difficult for adults to remain independent as they age. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Huntington seniors can depend on.

Promote Hydration

Once your loved one is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, one of the best things he or she can do is drink plenty of water. Many seniors avoid drinking too much because they don’t want to take frequent trips to the bathroom, but not urinating can cause an infection or make an existing infection worse. Drinking adequate amounts of water keeps urine clear and flushes it out of the system quickly so it doesn’t have time to sit and allow bacteria to build up. Drinking cranberry juice may also prevent and flush infections.

Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

The best way to handle urinary tract infections is to prevent them from happening in the first place. There are many precautions your loved one can take. For example, females should wipe from front to back after using the bathroom to prevent bacteria from spreading across the genitals. Urinating as soon as the need arises instead of holding it as long as possible is also important. Encourage your loved one to take a shower instead of a bath and to stop using products like douches, powders, and deodorant sprays for the genitals. Incontinent adults who wear special undergarments should change them frequently.

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Huntington Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (304) 521-2909 to learn about our in-home care plans.