When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, your first concern is all the life memories they could lose. But it’s important also to consider the implications to their health and wellness.
People with dementia are twice as likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs). By understanding the signs and symptoms and implementing a prevention plan, you and your loved ones can work together to support each other and keep infections away—for good.
What is dementia?
Think of dementia as an umbrella term. It consists of many different cognitive impairments that interfere with your memory, thinking, and decision-making judgment. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the CDC, dementia most commonly affects older adults. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2060 there will be nearly 14 million people over the age of 65 living with dementia.
Why are UTIs so common for people with dementia?
With memory problems come bacteria problems. That’s part of the reason why dementia increases the risk of UTI.
A UTI happens when bacteria finds its way into the urinary tract and attaches to the lining. From there it can spread throughout the urinary tract and up to the kidneys, where the infection can cause serious, life-threatening damage.
There are a few ways that dementia makes it easier for bacteria to cause infection:
- People with dementia often struggle to keep up with their personal hygiene, which increases the likelihood of bacterial growth in the urinary tract.
- Cognitive difficulties can also cause people to hold in their pee, allowing bacteria to grow instead of being flushed out of the body through urine.
- Dementia increases the need for catheter use, which can introduce new, harmful bacteria into the urinary tract.
- People with dementia often struggle to communicate their symptoms. This delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to kidney infection and recurrent UTIs.
What are the usual UTI symptoms?
For most people, UTIs cause the same list of frustrating symptoms—a burning sensation when you pee, frequent urges to pee, cloudy or bloody urine, or urine with a strange odour. However, in people with dementia, these symptoms can manifest differently.
What are the signs of a UTI for people with dementia?
This is where spotting UTI symptoms can get tricky. People with dementia might not know how to properly communicate their discomfort or the changes in their urine and oftentimes, they may experience behavioural changes—increased aggression, agitation, confusion, disorientation, or appetite fluctuations.
If you notice your loved one is exhibiting any of the above, get them tested for a UTI as soon as possible. The faster you diagnose the infection, the easier it will be to relieve their stress and discomfort. Early diagnosis also reduces the risk of kidney issues or sepsis.
How can people with dementia prevent UTIs?
Preventing UTIs in people with dementia is crucial for their overall well-being. Here are some tips to help reduce the risk:
- Stay Hydrated: Encourage regular fluid intake to promote proper urinary function.
- Frequent Bathroom Breaks: Prompt people with dementia to use the bathroom regularly to prevent urinary retention.
- Proper Hygiene: Do your best to help with maintaining personal hygiene, including wiping techniques. Women especially need to wipe front to back after using the bathroom to avoid bacteria spread.
- Cranberry Pills: Take a daily cranberry pill to prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining.
- UTI Test Strips: Keep Utiva UTI Test Strips on hand to diagnose UTIs early and start treatment right away.
What are the best cranberry pills for UTI prevention?
Utiva Cranberry PACs is a powerful, natural supplement for UTI prevention. Every dose contains 36mg of proanthocyanidins (PACs)—a nutrient found naturally in cranberries that stops bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract lining.
Utiva Cranberry PACs has also been recognized by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). That means it has been carefully reviewed by a panel of medical professionals to confirm it’s a safe and effective supplement—all based on scientific evidence.
The proof is in the results. 94% of Utiva customers require only Cranberry PACS to help prevent UTIs. Bonus: It’s trusted and recommended by over 10,000 doctors for urinary tract health.
Dementia and UTIs don’t have to go hand-in-hand.
Dementia is a complex condition, but living a fulfilling, healthy lifestyle is still possible. Proper awareness, education, and prevention tools—like cranberry pills and UTI test strips—can ensure that people with dementia avoid UTIs and other health issues to improve their quality of life.