A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra, according to Mayo Clinic.
UTIs are more common in older women and men. Factors that cause UTIs to develop in older adults include:
- A weak immune system.
- A reduced ability to control urination and bowel movements (incontinence), which increases the likelihood of bacterial buildup in the urinary tract.
- A hospital stay or living in a long-term care center, where the senior may have a urinary catheter inserted, making bladder infections more likely.
- Problems with the bladder dropping down out of its normal position (bladder prolapse or cystocele). When this happens, the bladder cannot empty completely, making infections more likely.
- Lack of estrogen in women who have gone through menopause. Lack of estrogen may allow bacteria that can cause UTIs to grow more easily in the vagina or urethra and cause an infection in the bladder.
- In men, partial blockage of the urinary tract by an enlarged prostate.
- Other conditions, such as diabetes, lack of activity, poor hygiene, or problems releasing urine.
- Use of medications that can cause difficulty urinating or a complete inability to urinate.
Seniors are more likely to have conditions that complicate UTIs, such as a lower resistance to infections. Symptoms of UTIs include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate.
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine.
- Urine that appears cloudy.
- Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored – a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine.
- Pelvic pain in women – especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone.
UTIs may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults. UTIs are painful, and can cause serious complications in senior adults when not treated promptly or properly. Complications of UTIs may include:
- Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a 6-month period or four or more within a year.
- Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
- Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.
- Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up your urinary tract to your kidneys.
Your senior parent is at an increased risk for developing UTIs. In order to help keep your senior parent healthy and at low risk for contracting a UTI, ensure that your senior parent:
- Drinks plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your parent’s urine and ensures that they'll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from the urinary tract before an infection can begin.
- Drinks cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.
- Wipes from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Avoids potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
If your senior parent ingests medications that may increase the likelihood of contracting a UTI, or if your senior parent struggles with managing their diet or using the restroom, call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. Our highly skilled, trained home health caregivers can ensure that your senior parent leads a healthy lifestyle that will lower their risk of contracting a UTI.
SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills in-home caregivers provide top-notch home care services to ensure that your senior parent receives the assistance they need to maintain a healthy, independent life. SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills caregivers provide meal and personal assistance services, which include:
- Help with restroom use. Our personal caregivers have been trained to offer minimal to full assistance with restroom use, including incontinence care, all with the utmost respect, professionalism, and sensitivity to privacy.
- Incontinence care. SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills personal caregivers are specially trained on how to provide care for aging or disabled family members who suffer from occasional or frequent incontinence. For people who have problems controlling their urine or bowels, keeping the skin clean and dry is important for good health.
- Standby assistance with morning and evening routines. From help out of bed, to grooming and dressing assistance, to a nutritious breakfast, a caregiver can be there every step so the day gets started right. A good night's rest is essential to a healthy lifestyle. SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills home health caregivers can assist with evening hygiene routines to help ensure a restful night.
- Personal hygiene assistance. Personal hygiene cleanses the body and soothes the mind. Our in-home caregivers offer the personal assistance your aged or disabled senior parent needs to continue the self-care that makes them feel clean and refreshed.
- Mealtime feeding assistance. Research shows that feeding assistance, either during or between meals, can improve a senior’s daily fluid and food consumption needed to maintain a healthy weight.
- Complete meal preparation. Once a senior parent or disabled family member can no longer cook a nourishing meal for themselves, it won’t be long before their health suffers. As part of our home care meal service, our caregivers can prepare complete, nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with the right portion sizes for good health.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25 . The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected].