I found out about UTIs the hard way! Late last year, Ma started hallucinating and talking about living in a different house (she has been living in the same house for 50 years) and kept asking when she was going home. In my ignorance I thought she was suffering from the onset of dementia and coped as best I could. It wasn’t until things got worse that I notified the doctor who ordered a Mid-stream Urine Test (MSU) that I found out the cause was a UTI.
Apparently UTI’s in the elderly can have symptoms of:
- sudden and unexplained changes in behaviour
without any of the ‘normal’ signs of temperature, frequent urination and a burning sensation when you urinate.
Causes of UTIs vary, in my Ma’s case it was the start of a series of UTIs because she had kidney stones. She is also incontinent so doesn’t like drinking because it makes her go to the toilet. Unfortunately she also has two frozen shoulder so wiping herself is difficult. In other words she scored the trifecta!
Wow, wouldn’t that have been handy to know! Doctors and professional care givers all told me that this was extremely common and that when a resident in a nursing home has a change in behaviour, this is the first thing they check for.
Since that experience, I have made it my mission to tell as many other people as possible. This should be common knowledge for all non-professional aged carers.
- Always keep a spare urine sample bottle and bags at home in case you need to get a sample.
- Gloves are a great addition also!
- The sample is best done in the morning. Midstream means ‘Midstream’! Get them to let out some urine first and then shove the sample bottle in to collect your sample.
- This can be kept in the fridge until you get to pathology.
- Ural may help. Ma takes one when she feels a bit ‘iffy’ in the ‘waterworks’.