Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common in the elderly. The elderly, when suffering from a UTI, can get confused and may even hallucinate. That’s why it is so important to try to prevent them as best you can.
The urinary tract includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in women than men. UTIs have different names depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected.
- infection of the bladder is cystitis
- infection of the urethra is urethritis
- infection of the kidney is pyelonephritis
UTIs are caused from germs, usually bacteria, which enter the urethra and travel through the urinary system.
There are somethings caregivers can do to help reduce the risk of seniors getting Urinary Tract Infections.
- Promote hydration. Encouraging seniors to drink water regularly will help keep bacteria out by flushing the system.
- Test often. Testing for an UTI is painless and easy to do. All it takes is a visit to the doctor to either get an order for a urine analysis or to give a sample for testing.
- A serving of cranberry juice daily. A new study by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) reveals that the juice changes the thermodynamic properties of bacteria in the urinary tract, creating an energy barrier that prevents the microorganisms from getting close enough to latch onto cells and initiate an infection.
- Hygiene . Keep the elderly out of baths and get them in a seated shower. Taking showers instead of baths helps prevent bacteria from entering the urethra and causing a UTI.
- Increase Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C increases the acidity level of urine, which in turn helps decrease the number of harmful bacteria that may be present in your urinary tract system.
- Change adult diapers often. If you are caring for a senior who is wearing an adult diapers check and change the diaper often. Diapers trap moisture, creating a potential breeding ground for bacteria.
Use common sense when dealing with seniors who have a UTI; promote good hygiene , provide water, and be mindful of vitamin intake and keeping the genitals dry.