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Last Saturday, I started a short series on Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) with a focus on how they can impact our elderly parents (and as I told a dear friend – how they can also impact many of us boomers and seniors who are getting up a wee bit in age. 🙂 ). That two-part article will finish this Saturday. But in the meantime, I found some other excellent resources on this topic, written by fellow caregivers like you and me, who are going through a tough season of caring for aging parents with UTIs. Hence the title – In The Trenches, coz that is definitely where so many of us are! 🙂
- EldercareABC had a couple of very interesting articles that touch on this topic, Urinary Tract Infections Cause Dementia In The Elderly? and Delirium: A Caregiver’s Elder Care Guide for Prevention and Treatment. I was intrigued by the many causes of delirium they listed in the second article, including “These mental changes often are caused from underlying medical conditions such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia. A change in your parent’s mental status may also be linked to dehydration, malnutrition or severe constipation. Other risk factors include dementia, alcohol abuse, and terminal illness,” as well as several other possible causes to check out. It’s definitely well worth reading both articles!
- As this article from Caregiving points out, it can be wise to ensure our aging parents have their preadmissions test for a surgery a couple of days early, especially the urine test that includes checking for a UTI. Because there may be little or no symptoms of a UTI, you may not even know your senior parent has one. And if you don’t find out in time, it could postpone a needed operation! I’m definitely keeping THAT in my list of pre-op needs!
- Seniors For Living has an interesting article as well, Dementia and Delirium: The Caregiver Conundrum. Michelle makes the excellent point that, “Urinary tract infections and pneumonia, illnesses that are common among seniors, can also provoke delirium. An individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia can suffer from it, so a caregiver should know the difference so the root cause may be treated (in the case of delirium).”
- Debbie Robus, another Sandwich Generation caregiver who writes at The Deli – Serving the Sandwich Generation, has dealt with UTIs many times while caring for her grandmother who is almost 100 years old and who is now on hospice. She shares some interesting comments at Facebook including, “Mam-ma is on antibiotics for the UTI, and she WAS more alert and clear on Sunday and Monday. However, she is also on new time-released pain medication, and off of Hydrocodone, so I can’t say for certain which worked. In the past, once she started antibiotics for a UTI, the mental confusion began to clear fairly quickly.” She has also written several articles about it at her site, such as Where Has Another Month Gone? I really appreciated her comment that, “Mam-ma began to complain of burning and being uncomfortable. The nurses kept telling me, “The doctor cannot prescribe any medication until the cultures are conclusive as to which bacteria is involved… and that will take 3 days.” It took roughly four, since the pharmacy that serves the facility did not deliver any medication until late Monday night, and somehow there were no orders from the nurse (or any that were seen by an aide) for the medications to be administered. I now have a box of AZO tucked away in Mam-ma’s bathroom that the LPNs or I can administer for the burning, if she has problems again.” Another friend also recommended Azo as well. It’s definitely worth asking the doctor about. And like her, I have learned to ask for a cultured test instead of a “dip stick” test!
Don’t forget, you can find out more about the various UTI tests, and many other important medical facts about UTIs, in last week’s post, News and Resources for Boomers and Seniors in the Sandwich Generation: Urinary Tract Infections as well as the upcoming Part 2 this Saturday. And if YOU have been or are in the trenches with this frustrating infection, we’d love to hear your suggestions and comments.
P.S. While you are at ElderCareABC, be sure to read my latest guest post for the Sandwich Generation caregiver over there – High-Tech Help For Keeping Friends and Family Updated During Long Illnesses. 🙂