Suffering a urinary tract infection can be a very unpleasant experience for your aging parent. When dealing with this type of infection, your senior may experience pain, burning, pressure in their pelvis, urgency to urinate, chills, fatigue, and more. Elderly adults are also prone to cognitive symptoms, including confusion and disorientation. If your senior is living with Alzheimer’s disease and develops a urinary tract infection, they can slip into delirium. Because they are less likely to be able to express the symptoms they are experiencing, it is easier to overlook the presence of a urinary tract infection in an older adult who is already struggling with cognitive functioning decline. This can leave your parents with an untreated infection that can spread into the bloodstream and potentially threaten their life. As their family caregiver, you can make a tremendous difference in how well they are able to get through this infection and move ahead by giving them focused and dedicated care as they are going through this experience.
Use these tips to help you care for a senior suffering a UTI:
- Don’t hesitate to go to the doctor. Urinary tract infections are a leading cause of trips to the doctor each year, and result in over 1 million hospitalizations each year. A UTI can worsen and spread quickly, and needs specific treatment to manage effectively. If your aging parent is showing signs of an infection, it is important to go to the doctor promptly so they can put your parent on a treatment approach that is right for them.
- Ensure they are compliant with their medications. If the doctor prescribes medications, such as antibiotics, to your senior, make sure they remain compliant. Medication reminders from you and a home care provider can ensure your senior takes their medications when and how they are supposed to so they can get maximum benefit. Even if your parent is feeling better, they should not stop taking antibiotics until the entire course of treatment is complete.
- Encourage your senior to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking enough fluids flushes out the system, preventing bacteria from staying on the walls of the urinary tract for too long. Your parent should drink water, but adding cranberry juice without other juices or additives into their diet can also be beneficial. Studies have indicated that cranberries can remove bacteria from the system, and prevent it from sticking to the walls and flourishing into an infection.
- Discourage irritants. Certain foods and beverages can irritate the urinary tract, worsening symptoms. Help your parent to avoid such irritants as caffeine, alcohol, and citrus.
- Ease pain and pressure with heat. If your senior is experiencing pressure or pain in their pelvis, help to reduce these symptoms with a warm compress or heating pad. Be sure not to place the heating pad directly against your senior’s skin, and leave it on for no longer than 20 minutes to prevent skin damage.
Starting home care for your aging parent can offer them a wide range of benefits, but it is important not to overlook the benefits this type of care can give you as their family caregiver. Stepping into the role of caring for an aging adult can be stressful and challenging, and it is almost impossible to do it completely on your own while maintaining health, well-being, and quality of life. In-home senior care services providers offer a long list of customizable services to meet your parent’s needs and give you the time, flexibility, and peace of mind you need. By delegating services to this care provider you are able to focus on other aspects of your life, including your children, your partner, your career, your home, and even yourself, while still knowing your senior loved one is in good hands.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Manalapan Township, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 888-492-3538 or 732-566-1112.