Re: Urinary/Yeast infections--91 year old mother
It is extremely common. Usually an elderly person has a somewhat reduced defense system (resistance to disease) while at the same time becoming less careful about personal cleanliness, especially if they have Dementia. My Mom forgot how to wipe herself, in fact often forgot to wipe at all.
Depends (adult diapers) are not an answer to UTI's because sitting around in your excrement can only make it more likely, not less. But if the AL staff stays on their toes and changes a person's Depends as soon as they need changing, the proper cleaning can help avoid infections. If your Mom is not incontinent, then just having an aide help her clean herself after using the bathroom would help a lot, and she will feel much better about herself if not in diapers. However, once again, this depends on the staff being on the ball, and really helping the person get properly clean.
These infections are so common among elderly people including non Dementia patients that a urinalysis is a part of almost every basic health exam once you reach a certain age.
It is not true that the burning and pain and itching are not felt by the dementia victim. They absolutely feel pain, itching, or discomfort -- they just don't know what to do or say about it, have no word for it, are unable to communicate to you or the staff that something is wrong. So it comes out in being weepy, irritable annoyed or aggressive. Think of a child pre-talking -- when he has an earache he can't say my ear hurts . But he can and does cry, whine, pout, refuse to eat, have a tantrum and maybe finally, pull at his ear.
The Dementia person with aphasia (loss of words) is really vulnerable to such infections, because they really can't explain their symptoms. If asked are you in pain, they may say no. And yet urinating may burn just as much as when you and I have a UTI.
Extreme cleanliness, constant monitoring, etc are the only help. Being on antibiotics frequently is also not good, they may develop an allergy to the substance, or germs may become resistant to this drug. It's a dilemma.
Good luck and I hope she feels better very soon! Drinking a lot of water, tea or cranberry juice also helps.
Last edited by Martha H; 12-01-2008 at 12:27 PM.