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Preventing Urinary Tract Infections in Older Adults

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects the urinary system including the kidneys, bladder and urethra. Elderly adults are highly susceptible to infections, which could further complications if left untreated. Prevention of UTIs is crucial for senior health since atypical symptoms may be confused with other issues and prevent Nashville elder care professionals from effectively caring for their senior loved ones.

Drink Plenty of Water

Proper fluid intake is paramount to UTI prevention in both the young and elderly. This keeps urine clear and prevents bacteria from taking hold within the bladder or urethra. Urination will also occur more frequently, thereby flushing bacteria from your loved one’s urinary system.

Reduce Catheter Use

Urinary catheters should be considered a last resort for seniors as bacterial growth increases with long-term use. Should your loved one absolutely need a catheter, make sure you change it often and clean them thoroughly.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption

Alcohol and caffeine can both irritate the bladder and lead to infection. Cutting back on their intake can reduce the chances of developing a UTI. If your loved one doesn’t reduce caffeine or alcohol intake, make sure he or she flushes it out with plenty of water.

Avoid Feminine Hygiene Products and Douching

While these kinds of products are designed to promote cleanliness, they often have the opposite effect. Most douches contain chemicals that irritate the urethra and upset the pH balance of the vagina, possibly leading to the development of a UTI.

Change Adult Briefs Often

Briefs for urinary incontinence create an environment that fosters bacterial growth. Changing adult diapers often and keeping the genital area clean will prevent bacteria from being reintroduced into the urethra.

Pay Attention to Atypical Symptoms

Fever and painful urination are telltale signs of a UTI in younger people. Elderly adults will display completely different symptoms. Confusion, agitation or other strange behavioral changes can all point to a possible UTI.

If you suspect a loved one has a UTI, do not hesitate to consult your loved one’s doctor. For other UTI prevention tips, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Nashville. We provide comprehensive dementia, stroke, and Nashville Alzheimer’s home care to help seniors age in place in comfort. Whether your loved one needs help managing an illness or recovering from illness, we can help. Call us today at (615) 656-4999 to schedule a free consultation.