You, as a family caregiver, have recently noticed your elder parent appearing a little unsteady on their feet. You’ve reached out to them a few times in order to prevent a fall. They seem to be more tired than usual which you associate with their increased agitation. Their food is remaining untouched at some meals.
Many might shrug this off as an elder parent just having a bad day, and in some instances, it might be just that. The elderly, however, do not always exhibit the regular signs that most associate with a urinary tract infection (UTI). These include an increased frequency, pain or burning in the area as well as in the lower abdomen or low back, fever, chills and a strong color and smell in the urine itself. They may only exhibit the aforementioned signs of diminished mobility, agitation, fatigue and loss of appetite.
It’s important to be aware of these signs in order to get immediate medical attention for your parent. Untreated UTIs can spread to the kidney and result in permanent damage, poor kidney function and high blood pressure. If the infection spreads to the blood, it becomes life-threatening.
Dementia and UTIs
Unfortunately, the symptoms of a UTI often mimic those of dementia. If your loved one already has dementia, it may be difficult to differentiate. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, those who suffer from dementia may experience distressing behavior changes known as delirium which can develop in as little as one to two days. Symptoms of delirium range from “agitation and restlessness to hallucinations or delusions.”
UTIs can cause the progression of dementia to speed up, so a quick diagnosis and treatment is vital to your parent’s well-being.
Help your Parent Prevent UTIs
There are a few ways you can help your elder parent prevent this infection. This includes keeping a glass of water by their side so they will get in their six to eight glasses of water a day. If they have never been big water drinkers, consider adding some flavor. There are pitchers with a center cone for fruit such as berries, watermelon, cucumbers and mint. Herbal teas or vegetable soups also increase their water intake.
Schedule your parent for bathroom breaks every few hours, whether they feel they need to go or not, and ensure that they maintain good hygiene.
Elder Care Provider
An elder care provider can assist your loved one with the daily activities of living including bathing and dressing. They can remind your parent when it’s time to take their medications, prepare healthy meals, and accompany them on daily walks—assuring they stay active and engaged as they navigate through their elderly years.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Brighton NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.
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