How to recognize a UTI in older adults

How To Recognize a UTI in Aging Adults

It’s a topic few of us consider let alone discuss. But for families caring for aging adults, it’s important to know about and learn to recognize signs and symptoms for urinary tract infections, or UTIs.

UTIs occur when bacteria enters the area between the kidneys and urethra. This can affect older adults more often due to age-related changes in their immune system, which makes us more vulnerable to infection. The probability of acquiring a UTI only increases in individuals suffering from incontinence or using a urinary catheter. UTIs are also more common in men and women who cannot fully empty their bladder due to cystocele, bladder prolapse, or use of certain medications. Higher UTI instances are shown in men with enlarged prostate, women with low estrogen levels, or anyone with diabetes, low activity levels, or poor hygiene.

Uncomfortable to say the least, UTIs are most often associated with a burning sensation during urination and are typically treated with antibiotics. But they can also develop into more serious – even life-threatening – complications when left untreated. So what should you be on the lookout for? Common symptoms include pain during urination or cloudy, dark, bloody, or strong-smelling urine. Those suffering from a UTI may also experience a low-grade fever, lower pelvis pressure, back pain – even night sweats or chills.

As the infection intensifies, patients may display behavioral changes including confusion, agitation, dizziness, or falls. These changes are easily confused with dementia. Caretakers – or adults aging in place – should watch for these and other telltale signs, visiting a professional for diagnosis and treatment should they arise.

At Manchester Place Care Homes, we care for our residents around the clock with the goal of pinpointing and addressing any symptoms before an infection becomes more serious. Schedule a free tour and talk to one of our compassionate team members if you’re considering around-the-clock assisted living for your loved one.