mimi427September 2, 2005

Once again, I'm looking to you good people for information. I've tried to do several searches on the 'net on UTIs and Alzheimer's and I'm coming up with zilch. I remember hearing it or reading it somewhere (and I'm thinking I read it here, but tried a search and nothing came up) the UTIs are really bad for AD patients.

Mom has Alzheimer's as you all know. For the past two days, she's been complaining a lot that she's hungry and when I tell her she's already had something to eat, she says "but my stomach is hungry". This morning, she got up very early and went to the bathroom, something she hasn't done since she's moved in almost ten month's ago. Mom's aide told me yesterday that when she woke up and went to the bathroom, she took off her Depends and they were really soaked, which is very unusual too. Her aide said there was a strong odor coming from them...which made me think UTI...strong odor, frequent urination, and possible discomfort that she's mistaking for a hungry stomach. So I ran over to her Drs lab and picked up some sterile collection cups, a urine hat and sterile wipes and got a urine sample from her when she got up. It was clear and had no foul odor smell, but I decided to take it over to the lab because I am not medically trained. I took it over to her Drs office and they did a "dip" and it came back positive. they are still sending it out to be cultured, but since it's a holiday weekend, her doc started her on Cipro.

Just wondering ... how serious are UTIs? Once they have one, are they prone to them more often? How can they be prevented? Can they cause more confusion in a pt with AD? thanks for any information you have...Mimi

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Incontinent people often get more UTIs, owing in part to the bacteria that can get into the urethra from improper or insufficient cleansing. Make sure she (or you, for her) wipes from front to back. Have her drink lots of water. Cranberry capsules, available in health food stores, are very good to maintain urinary health -- check with her doctor to make sure she can take them. Pure cranberry juice is good, also, but make sure it's the pure unsweetened kind, not the "cocktail" version that is sold in most stores.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 4:13AM
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Hi Mimi
I took care of my mil for almost 6 years. She was incontinent all of those years.
For me to clean her, was not something she wanted any part of (at least in the early years) but a Dr. recomended that we use a rinsing bottle. I would fill it with warm water and later I used warm water with the no rinse soap and either she or I would rinse her from the front and it can be used from the back as well. If she had had a messy bm, it worked well for that also.
By using this method we had only a few UTI in those 6 years.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 5:28AM
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UTIs are the pits!

They tend to cause confusion in the affected elderly. Mum has had a stroke and is a "little bit out there" on good days, but whenever she gets REALLY weird for more than a day/2 I am "on alert".

Great advice on proper wiping and clean up. Leave it to Connie to provide an easy, DIY solution! (nice to see you aroung the 'hood, sister!).

Mum has an urostomy, but getting her to drink the amount of water required to maintain an already fragile and IMPROVISED urinary system is virtually impossible. I call it the "water wars".. and DON'T I HATE EVERY BLESSED MINUTE OF IT. It seems every bit of my free time is taken up with making sure she gets 8 oz. of water and FINISHES the entire glass. The only "good" thing about an urostomy is the pee is always there to inspect... so when something is amiss I'm "johnny on the spot".

The more water she consumes and the more vigilant the staff about proper wiping/sanitation the easier it will be! but you need to be mindful of UTIs, they can lead to other things.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 12:06PM
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UTI's in older people generally manifest first with mental status changes, so, like Chelone says, if your parent is a little weird for a day or so, it's probably a UTI. In people with dementia, it's really hard to decide what's happening.

You know your parent best, so insist that a urine specimen be sent for culture if you think things aren't right, because frequently, a urine specimen will come back normal with the dipstick test. Untreated, it can easily end up with hospitalization, so waiting for "normal" symptoms can be a disaster.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 2:45PM
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UTIs are very hard on the elderly. In addition to the above mentioned characteristics, they can make one listless, tired, and cause loss of appetite. You're doing a great job, Mimi...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 9:38PM
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Once again, you all have been wonderful...just one more question...several of you have mentioned that UTIs can lead to other more dangerous illnesses...can you please explain?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 11:00PM
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Mimi, there is a risk of the infection spreading to the kidneys. The link below may give you some helpful info.

Here is a link that might be useful: urinary tract infections;

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 11:13PM
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