Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common occurrence in the elderly, especially women. Over 8 million visits to the doctor, every year, involve a UTI diagnosis. It is the second most common infection in the U.S. 1 In fact, about 50-60% of adult women have had at least one UTI. 2 The numbers are significantly lower for adult men primarily due to a simple anatomical explanation. In women, as compared to men, the bacteria that normally live in the pelvic region don’t have as far to travel in order to infect the bladder.
There are many causes of urinary incontinence, a condition which tends to occur as the bladder muscle weakens and has more difficulty holding urine. Common physical changes resulting from the aging process, like reduced mobility, increase the time that it takes for your loved one to get to the bathroom, creating an additional challenge. Similarly, hospitalizations often increase incontinence due to the patient being restricted to bed.
Though hydration is important for healthy living at any age, seniors are at greater risk of dehydration due to physical and physiological changes that occur during the natural aging process. With potentially dangerous symptoms of dehydration like disorientation, constipation, and low blood pressure, it is important to keep your loved one hydrated.
We asked Brian Cooper, a Residential Home Health Occupational Therapist, to share some strategies that caregivers can use to help ensure their loved one regularly drinks water. Here are the tips that have helped many of his patients and their caregivers:
A common symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s, incontinence can be a challenge for patients and caregivers alike. The loss of bladder and/or bowel function, resulting in involuntary leaking, often brings emotional distress in addition to physical discomfort. Here are three tips to help prevent dementia- or Alzheimer’s-induced incontinence: