Though most people know the most common symptoms of dementia, many don’t realize that those symptoms can also hide signs of other conditions. If your elderly loved one has dementia, an inability to communicate and other symptoms may make detecting UTIs harder. To help you learn more about the connection between dementia and UTIs, the senior care experts at Bridgewater Home Care Assistance discuss the relationship between the two conditions.
What Is a UTI
A UTI occurs when bacteria travel through the urethra to the bladder or kidneys. The elderly are prone to urinary tract infections due to factors including incontinence, improper hygiene, and urinary difficulty resulting from chronic health conditions.
UTIs in the Elderly
Typical symptoms of a UTI include burning with urination, abdominal pain, and the frequent need to urinate. The elderly, especially those with dementia, frequently do not exhibit or are unable to communicate these symptoms. The most common symptom of UTIs in elderly is a sharp change in mental status or behavior, however for seniors with dementia, these changes are often attributed to their condition and go untreated.
Delirium vs. Dementia
Dementia involves a long-term, gradual change in mental status. Delirium involves a sudden change in mental state and is usually reversible when the underlying condition is treated. It is possible to have delirium in addition to dementia. It is important to know your loved one’s normal level of cognition so you can determine if behavioral changes are due to delirium or dementia.
Warning Signs of UTIs
Warning signs that your elderly loved one may have a UTI include:
• A sudden decline in mental status over a period of hours or a few days.
• Complaints fatigue.
• A sudden onset of incontinence.
• Cloudy or strong smelling urine.
• Urine that is dark or bright pink due to blood.
You can help your senior family member prevent UTIs by having a family member or dementia caregiver in Bridgewater do the following:
• Encourage your loved one to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Check with a doctor first if your family member has congestive heart failure or kidney failure to make sure that it is appropriate.
• Encourage your loved one to use the bathroom every two to three hours.
• Encourage good hygiene, including proper wiping for women.
Due to the progressive nature of conditions like dementia, your elderly loved one’s care needs may change over time, but having a professional Home Care Assistance caregiver in the home can help ensure that your loved one’s needs are addressed as they shift and evolve. Expertly trained to provide medication reminders, prevent wandering, and assist with activities of daily living for seniors with memory conditions, a dementia or Alzheimer’s caregiver in Bridgewater can make sure your loved one is safe and comfortable at home. To learn more about how our care services can benefit your elderly loved one, give a committed Care Manager a call at 908.450.9400 and schedule a free no-obligation consultation.