We often see clients have a sudden onset of change that causes unusual behavior. Caregivers complain there client has been falling more, sleeping more or having increased agitation. Almost immediately we send the RN to check for any acute obvious issues and typically send the client off to see their Doctor. Often times the cause is a UTI, Urinary Tract Infection.Patients with Alzheimer’s or other diseases that cause dementia have a tough time communicating their needs. Behaviors that may be perceived as different or odd are the best indicators something physically is happening with our loved one. Unlike when a younger person develops a UTI, older folks may not feel pain or urgency. This makes it difficult to suspect there is an infection for many older people.
What is more, those affected with Alzheimer’s or dementia have increased confusion and agitation and may experience hallucinations when they have a UTI.This is why it is important for caregivers to take extra precaution with their loved ones who have memory issues. Some steps that can help prevent a UTI:
1. Keep your loved one hydrated. Have a notebook to monitor fluid intake daily.
2. Offer going to the restroom every 2-3 hours. Most people with dementia won’t be able to tell you they need to go or they may be unable to control their urine.
3. Hygiene. Make sure they are cleaning in the perineal area thoroughly, even if they are not taking showers daily.
If you are a caregiver, we hope these tips will keep you out of the ER for UTI’s with your loved one. For further support caring for you family member with Alzheimer’s, call our office at 336-993-1600.