As one ages, several changes take place within the bladder. The tissue becomes less flexible and, therefore, unable to hold the same amount of urine as before. Weakening bladder wall muscles make it harder to empty the bladder and weakening muscles in the pelvic area make it harder to hold the urine in. Men may experience an enlarging prostate gland, which places pressure on the bladder and restricts the flow of urine. All of these changes cause the elderly to be susceptible to several disorders that can lead to incontinence as well as infection.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTIs grow increasingly more common as one ages due to the decreasing capability to completely empty the bladder and incontinence. Symptoms among the elderly often differ from the symptoms commonly associated with UTIs. Common symptoms include the following:
- Feeling a constant need to urinate.
- Cloudy or dark urine.
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- Possible fever and night sweats or chills.
Symptoms that the elderly may exhibit:
- Confusion, agitation and other behavioral changes.
Because of the difficulty in detecting a possible urinary tract infection, help your loved one take these steps to reduce their susceptibility.
- Keep clean with daily showers or sponge baths.
- If they have incontinence issues, schedule frequent changes of their pads and undergarments.
- Remind them of the best way to clean and schedule frequent bathroom breaks.
- Keep a glass of water by their side and encourage regular drinking. If they have a distaste for water, consider adding fruit to a water pitcher for flavor. Popular additions include berries, cucumbers, mint and melon. There are pitchers that have a central container to hold fruit in order to infuse the water.
- Avoid food and beverages that can irritate the bladder wall. These include: alcohol, caffeinated beverages, citrus fruits, spicy foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Recommend underwear made from natural material such as cotton and avoid synthetic materials.
Home Care Provider
If your loved one requires assistance with incontinence issues or everyday tasks of living, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. They have cared for countless seniors suffering from these conditions and understand the need for scheduling breaks and regular cleaning. They can encourage exercise by accompanying your parent on walks and prepare healthy meals that can be shared, providing that all-important companionship.
If you or a senior family member are considering home care in Hawthorne, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.
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