“Urinary tract infections are fairly common, especially in seniors,” says Scott McIntosh, executive director of Grand Villa. “But what most people don’t understand is that some of the symptoms of a UTI can mimic the early signs of dementia.”
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that occurs anywhere along the urinary tract. The most common symptoms include a fever, painful urination, strong need to urinate and foul-smelling or cloudy urine. However, in older adults some of these symptoms do not present, like fever, or may be something experienced often, like strong need to urinate, due to age and bladder weakness. As the infection progresses, it can bring about additional symptoms such as confusion, agitation, poor motor skills and other behavioral changes. Because these symptoms are also warning signs of dementia, a UTI can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
“We’ve had instances in which families brought their loved ones for evaluation by our memory care unit, believing the seniors were experiencing the early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s,”
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several conditions that make the elderly more susceptible to urinary tract infections. These include diabetes, catheters, incontinence, immobility and kidney stones. Untreated, a UTI can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection; which is why it is so important to monitor and treat any infections.
McIntosh offers these suggestions for reducing the risk of developing a UTI:
• Drink plenty of fluids
• Change undergarments and/or adult diapers frequently
• Cleanse genital area from front to back
• Avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
• Add cranberry juice or pills to your diet, unless you have kidney stones or are on blood-thinning medication
McIntosh adds that anyone suspecting a urinary tract infection should see a physician as soon as possible.
About Grand Villa of Altamonte Springs
Grand Villa of Altamonte Springs (http://www.altamontespringsseniorliving.com) is a 120-apartment independent living, assisted living and memory care senior living community. Offering interior and exterior common areas and resident amenities that include television lounges, a café, country store and private dining room, Grand Villa of Altamonte Springs accepts Medicaid waiver financial assistance.
About Senior Management Advisors, Inc.
Senior Management Advisors (SMA) (http://www.seniormanagementadvisors.com) is a leading operator of full service independent living, assisted living and Alzheimer’s care residential communities in Florida and Georgia. SMA specializes in rejuvenating and stabilizing senior living communities for owners, financial institutions, private investors and government agencies. SMA’s services include consultation, management, development and renovation of residential communities.