Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common type of bacterial infection in older adults. UTIs affect around 10% of men and 20% of women older than age 80. Seniors may also experience different and more severe symptoms than younger adults do. Characteristics may include agitation, mental confusion, and sudden changes in behavior.
When left untreated, UTIs in the elderly can cause serious problems. Examples include permanent kidney damage and sepsis — a generalized and potentially life-threatening infection.
What are symptoms of UTIs in the elderly?
Like anyone with a UTI, older adults may experience typical physical symptoms. Yet they may not notice a mild infection right away. This is because chronic urinary problems common in seniors, such as urinary incontinence or frequency, may have similar symptoms to a UTI, masking an infection.
Common symptoms of a UTI include:
— Burning, painful sensation with urination
— Frequent, intense urge to urinate even when there’s little urine to pass
— A feeling that the bladder is not completely emptied
— Blood in the urine
— Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
If left untreated, these symptoms can result in a much more troublesome infection. Severe UTIs may cause:
— Night sweats or chills
— Nausea and vomiting
— Pain in the lower abdomen or back
When accompanied by other common UTI symptoms, these changes in behavior can also be key signs of a UTI in elderly adults:
— Confusion or delirium
— Sudden urinary incontinence
— Inability to perform common daily tasks, such as getting dressed or feeding themselves
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164
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