As we age, our bodies go through various changes, and one common issue that can affect older adults is a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs might not always be easy to recognize in aging adults, but they can have serious consequences if left untreated. It’s important for caregivers and family members to understand UTIs in aging adults and to know the signs of infection.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection that can happen in any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and start causing trouble.
Signs of a UTI in Aging Adults
- Frequent Urination: If you notice that your loved one suddenly needs to visit the bathroom more often than usual, it could be a sign of a UTI.
- Pain or Burning Sensation: A common symptom of a UTI is a painful or burning feeling while urinating. Your loved one may also complain of discomfort in the lower abdomen.
- Cloudy or Bloody Urine: UTIs can make the urine appear cloudy, dark, or even bloody. If you notice any unusual changes in urine color, it’s time to be cautious.
- Strong Urge to Urinate: Urgency to urinate is another telltale sign. Your loved one might feel like they need to go urgently but only pass a small amount of urine.
- Fever and Fatigue: In more severe cases, UTIs can lead to fever, shivering, and fatigue. Keep an eye out for these signs, especially if they persist.
Concerns with Untreated UTIs
If a UTI goes untreated, it can lead to serious health issues for aging adults. These concerns may include:
- Kidney Infections: UTIs that reach the kidneys can result in kidney infections, which can be quite severe and require hospitalization.
- Delirium and Confusion: UTIs can sometimes cause confusion and behavioral changes in older adults, often mistaken for dementia or Alzheimer’s. This is a symptom we often see in our clients who experience UTIs.
- Worsening of Underlying Conditions: UTIs can exacerbate existing health conditions in aging adults, making it vital to address them promptly.
Being vigilant about the signs of UTIs in aging adults is essential. If you suspect a UTI, seek medical attention promptly. Hurley Elder Care Law’s care coordinators often receive phone calls from concerned client families sharing that their loved one is hospitalized due to a UTI. Early detection and treatment can help your loved one enjoy a healthier and more comfortable life.
Please call 404-843-0121 with your elder law questions. We offer complimentary phone consultations with our intake specialists and have offices near you in Atlanta, Duluth, Woodstock, and Peachtree City. We are always happy to help!
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