Everyone has a story about a grandparent or parent who suddenly started acting strangely…seeing bugs on the wall, talking gibberish or acting out in ways that they never have before.
They will all tell you that they initially thought that their relative had dementia, which scared them. Then they will conclude the story with a great sigh of relief saying how lucky they were because this condition was simply caused by a UTI, and that once the patient was treated at the hospital with antibiotics for a day or two, they were back to themselves again.
The condition is known as “delirium”, and the crying shame of it all is that this condition, and the hospital visit, are entirely preventable today.
Most doctors say they have run out of preventative options and cannot help. But the fact is that there are new, natural treatments available and the children of these patients are stepping in to make sure that their parents are getting them.
Why Seniors Get UTIs So Often
At a very high level, a weakened immune system and the inability to fight infections is the main reason older individuals are more prone to getting UTIs.
And many don’t exhibit the common symptoms of urinary tract infections like the burning sensation while urinating or the pressure and pain in the lower abdomen. The medical term for this is “asymptomatic bacteriuria” or ASB.
With a growing assisted living community for the elderly and parents being taken care of at home, it is very important for caretakers, professional or at home, to know the signs of a UTI, and how to diagnose and treat it immediately.
Urinary tract infections are the most frequent infections in long-term care facilities. And because patients have no symptoms, they often go undiagnosed for too long, resulting in a kidney infection, fever and a sudden behavior change known as “delirium” which mimics dementia.
What To Look For
If you notice a sudden behavior change in your patient or loved one, this is one important key indicator of a UTI. Symptoms of “delirium” (the change in mental health) can include confusion, agitation, hallucinations, inability to communicate clearly, dizziness, and falling.
Delirium disappears quickly once the UTI is treated.
Doctors Have Few Options Available To Treat or Prevent UTIs in Seniors
A few years ago, doctors were prescribing a dose of daily antibiotics to elderly patients to ward off these infections. That practice has now been prohibited by the AMA, because it has resulted in an “antibiotics resistance crisis”.
The bacteria eventually developed an immunity to the drugs, rendering most antibiotics ineffective. This leaves these patients with few options to treat this infection; typically a patient with delirium caused by a UTI will need to be hospitalized and administered intravenous antibiotics.
The obvious question is this: what is the medical community doing to actively prevent these patients from these serious infectious attacks?
There are natural supplements available which have been proven to relieve symptoms and protect against UTIs, but because supplements are not reviewed or approved by the FDA, doctors will not readily recommend them.
The “Kids” Are Stepping In To Help
With doctors providing no options, the children of these seniors have stepped in to become UTI advocates and caregivers. Most of these women and men have also had to learn how to manage their own UTIs and have figured out what to do.
There are three simple things that they are doing which is helping to prevent these sudden attacks.