This article was written by Christie Sartorie RN BSN OCN to address a common reoccurring issue of urinary tract infection that caregivers are often faced with when caring for an elderly parent. To learn more about the author see her bio at the end of the article.-Tom
When caring for an elderly adult there are red flags that can alert you to diagnosing and treating problems your loved one may be having such as urinary tract infections. By recognizing these red flags the caregiver can serve as an advocate for their loved one.
Identify The Symptoms
Start by looking for symptoms of mental status changes such as: confusion, anxiety, and even psychosis. These can be accompanied by concentrated urine, low grade fevers and increased fatigue.
The Important thing to remember is that the elderly often do not present with symptoms like a younger person would: burning with urination, bladder pressure or increased frequency to urinate. Mental status changes are the hallmark presenting symptom in elderly and as a caregiver its what you want to be watching for to make sure your loved one is healthy and happy. So if your mom or dad starts to become confused call you doctor and have his/her urine checked. This is a simple test to perform they do not even have to go into the office you can drop off a sample at your local lab.
Some of the best ways to protect your loved one from acquiring recurrent urinary tract infections are keeping them well hydrated and keeping up with their hygiene. Drinking cranberry juice is also helpful in preventing infections from occurring. Avoiding these urinary tract infections can save your loved one from taking more prescriptions and sometimes even hospitalizations depending on the severity of the infection and how long it goes unnoticed.
Being A Caregiver To Your Parent
As caregivers for your parents you know them best and when personality changes occur you can be the first to recognize this and alert their physician to the change. Ultimately saving your loved one from any unnecessary pain or emotional stress.