Public Enemy No. 1: UTIs

A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria in the urethra, bladder or kidneys multiply in urine. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to acute or chronic kidney infections, which could cause permanent damage and lead to kidney failure. UTIs are a leading cause of sepsis, a potentially life-threatening blood infection.

Older people are more susceptible to UTIs for many reasons, from weakened immune systems and physical changes to weakened muscles and other medical conditions. While you can’t do much about physical bladder changes, you can keep your loved one clean and be alert for signs of a UTI.

A doctor can perform a simple urine test to detect a UTI, which can be treated with antibiotics. Your home health agency can perform this test at home with a physician’s order.

Preventing UTIs

  • Good bathroom hygiene is essential to preventing infections
  • Elderly people confined to bed need to be changed often
  • Stay hydrated
  • Hate water? Add flavored drink crystals, use bottled flavored water or try popsicles or Italian ice
  • Use smaller drinking cups to make drinking seem less formidable
  • Drink cranberry juice or take cranberry tablets to provide a less inviting climate for bacteria 

Think UTI Before You Think Alzheimer’s

Typical signs of a UTI are a low-grade fever combined with pain during urination, frequent need to urinate and dark, bloody or foul-smelling urine. According to the National Institutes of Health, a UTI in the elderly is often mistaken for early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because symptoms include:


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