Younger people may perceive urinary tract infections (UTIs) as a nuisance, but for the elderly, it can be a serious condition with unexpected symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention promptly.The urinary system is the bodys drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. It includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body.In some elderly people, mental changes and confusion may be the only signs of a UTI. Older adults with a UTI are more likely to be tired, shaky, and weak or have muscle aches and abdominal pain.Many things can affect bladder health. We cant control everything that affects bladder health, but there are many bladder health behaviors that can be controlled. Here are some things that may affect bladder health.DiabetesBeing OverweightLow Physical ActivitySome MedicinesGetting a UTI diagnosed and treated quickly in the elderly is essential otherwise there can be serious consequences.
It's important for your body to have plenty of fluids each day. Water helps you digest your food, absorb nutrients from food, and then get rid of unused waste. Water is found in foods, both solids and liquids, as well as in its natural state.With age, you might lose some of your sense of thirst. To further complicate matters, some medicines might make it even more important to have plenty of fluids.Remember, water is a good way to add fluids to your daily routine without adding calories.Try these tips for getting enough fluids:Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water or other fluids.Take sips of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals.Add liquids throughout the day.Have a cup of low-fat soup as an afternoon snack.Drink a full glass of water when you take a pill.Have a glass of water before you exercise.Drink fat-free or low-fat milk or other drinks without added sugars.If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly and in moderation. That means up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men.Don't stop drinking liquids if you have a urinary control problem. Talk with your doctor about treatment.Learn how to shift to healthier beverage choices.Editors Note: This article was submitted by John Morris, Community Relations Director at Ashton Commons Senior Living. He can be reached at 724-436-0070 or for more information visit their website at www. ashtoncommons.com.
For more information on the author Comfort Keepers Fort Myers, CLICK HERE.Urinary incontinence is an issue that more than half of seniors deal with, and it can affect a seniors health, social connections, and self-esteem. Managing incontinence is critical for seniors that want to maintain their independence and quality of life while remaining in their home.*New guidelines released in 2018 recommend that women be screened for issues that cause incontinence on a yearly basis.While incontinence is a highly prevalent issue, its important to remember that incontinence is treatable, and a physician can make recommendations based on the type of incontinence they diagnose.Why Does Incontinence Happen?During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into a tube called the urethra, while the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass out of the body. When the muscles in and around the bladder don't work properly, urine can leak. Incontinence can occur for short periods of time due to urinary tract infections, constipation, or as a side effect of a medication.How is Incontinence Diagnosed and Treated?Depending on the severity of the problem, a doctor may recommend any or all of the following:A urinalysis to rule out infection or blood in the urineBlood tests to check on kidney function, calcium and glucose levelsA complete physical exam and thorough discussion of ones medical historyMedicine that calms muscles and nerves to treat an overactive bladder.Exercises to strengthen the pelvic musclesIf other treatments fail, surgery may be suggested to improve bladder control.How Can Incontinence be Managed at Home?There are a few lifestyle changes that can help manage incontinence:Pelvic muscle exercises: Working the muscles that can stop urination can have a positive effect in reducing incontinence.Timed bathroom breaks: Going to the restroom on a schedule can help those with urge and overflow incontinence.Fluid and diet management: Avoid food and drinks that irritate the bladder. Its important for seniors to discuss their diet and fluid intake with the doctor before making any changes.Behavioral changes: There are some habits that can make incontinence worse. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, lifting objects that are too heavy and consuming caffeine, among others.Comfort Keepers Can HelpIf your loved one has specific care needs related to a health issue, like incontinence, we can help. Our caregivers can provide transportation to appointments, medication reminders, support for physician-recommended diet and exercise programs, and help monitor physical changes and symptoms. And, we strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.