The Most Effective Ways to Manage and Prevent UTIs In the Elderly

Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the human body, and account for about 8.1 million visits to health care providers annually.

Because of advanced age and clinical conditions, older adults are at greater risk for developing urinary infections and can develop severe – even fatal – side effects as a result. 

Luckily, once it is spotted diagnosing and treating an elderly urinary tract infection is fairly simple. A urinalysis can identify the cause of the infection. Home tests can be used under the support and guidance of a physician. If bladder, urinary, or kidney abnormalities are suspected as a cause, an ultrasound exam, X-ray, or CAT scan may be necessary to determine what underlying causes are contributing to the condition. 

For most, antibiotics are the first course of treatment.  Depending on the senior’s health and the severity of the infection, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be needed. Typically patients see improvement within a few days, but if the UTI is advanced, treatment can take weeks. 

How can you help reduce your loved one’s risk for contracting a UTI and prevent urinary infections in the future?

  • Drink fluids (2 to 4 quarts each day) – Water flushes bacteria out of the body, helping prevent UTIs. Encourage your loved one to drink plenty of fluids and monitor their fluid intake.
  • Manage stress incontinence – Persons with urinary incontinence may limit their water intake to avoid excessive bathroom trips, which unfortunately allows bacteria to build up in the urinary tract.  Keep your urine clear by drinking an adequate amount of fluids.
  • Void the patient – Urine should not stay in the bladder too long.
  • Prevent constipation – Constipation prevents the bladder from properly emptying which can increase risk of a urine infection
  • Set reminders – For patients with memory impairment or dementia, set reminders to use the bathroom.
  • Encourage front-to-back cleansing – For women, its important to prevent fecal matter from reaching the urethra.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Change the adult briefs frequently.
  • Adhere to healthy dietary habits – Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these irritate the bladder. Consuming plenty of fiber-filled fruits and vegetables will encourage a healthy urinary tract and bowel.
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2 Responses to The Most Effective Ways to Manage and Prevent UTIs In the Elderly

  1. Rishma Dhalla says:

    Another symptom of a brewing UTI is confusion..

  2. G.MILETO says:

    My mom use to get UTI’s frequently when l was caring for her. Like you said, the cure for her was simple…..antibiotics…….but l just want to state what would happen to her besides the usual symptoms. l learned this from her hospice home caregivers. She would fall almost everyday and though she did not get hurt, they were strange falls that seemed to happen for no reason.
    One day we were standing in the kitchen ready to go out on the porch and she just fell backwards…straight on her back !! Nothing to trip over, just flat on her back from an upright standing position. l later was told this is a side affect of a UTI !! How bizarre, l thought, but sure enough, it was a UTI !!

    When she would fall more than once or twice in a week, l would call the doctor and it was always a UTI !!

    l thought this was something important, if not totally bizarre in my eyes, to share.

    Be aware of this if the person you are caring for has no symptoms of the usual pain or burning while urinating but is falling for no apparent reason !!

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