Caregiver Tips: Preventing UTIs
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can significantly impact a seniors quality of life. If left untreated, UTIs can cause symptoms similar to dementia and other behavioral and physical issues.
Drink plenty of water. Drink water and water-based fluids (like tea) all day long. This will facilitate urination.
Remind or encourage your loved one to urinate as necessary. A good rule of thumb, in the absence of infection, is every 1 or 2 hours.
Keep the genital area clean, especially if your loved one is not circumcised. This may require trimming some pubic hair to be thorough.
If your loved one uses briefs or pads, check them frequently and change them if they are damp or wet. With each change, clean the genital area.
Dementia can cause the brain to ignore signals of the need to urinate. In this case, it may be beneficial to schedule bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Caregivers should watch for the physical symptoms of UTI:
Bloody or cloudy urine
A frequent urge to urinate
Pain or burning during urination
Your loved one may not communicate these personal symptoms to you, so also watch out for sudden changes in behavior or psychological symptoms. Be sure to seek medical attention for any sudden changes, UTI's are very treatable with antibiotics.