The Connection Between UTIs and Dementia

In older people with dementia, urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause sudden behavior changes rather than the common physical symptoms. Knowing the signs of UTIs in older people can help your loved one get treated early, before the infection leads to serious health problems.

The Connection Between UTIs and Dementia

What Are UTIs?

A urinary tract infection happens when germs get into the urethra and travel up into the bladder and kidneys. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly four times as many women get UTIs as men. Among the reasons, women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder.

Having diabetes, kidney problems or a weakened immune system also puts people at risk for UTIs. And women who have gone through menopause face a higher risk because they lack estrogen, which helps defend against the growth of bacteria in the urethra.

Physicians typically diagnose a UTI through one of these methods:

  • Urine test
  • Ultrasound exam
  • X-rays
  • CAT scan

Antibiotics are the standard course of treatment for a urinary tract infection. If symptoms persist, a specialist may perform additional tests to determine the underlying cause.

How UTIs Affect People With Dementia

When younger people get a urinary tract infection, they will experience distinct physical symptoms. Most commonly, painful urination, an increased need to urinate, lower abdominal pain, back pain on one side, fever and chills.

But those same symptoms may not be present for an older adult. Because our immune system changes as we get older, it responds differently to the infection. Instead of pain symptoms, seniors with a UTI may show increased signs of confusion, agitation or withdrawal.

For older adults who have dementia, these behavioral changes may come across as part of that condition or signs of advanced aging. If the underlying UTI goes unrecognized and untreated for too long, it can spread to the bloodstream and become life-threatening.

Are UTIs a Sign of Dementia?

Urinary tract infections can exacerbate dementia symptoms, but a UTI does not necessarily signal dementia or Alzheimer’s.

As the Alzheimer’s Society explains, UTIs can cause distressing behavior changes for a person with Alzheimer’s. These changes, referred to as delirium, can develop in as little as one to two days. Symptoms of delirium can range from agitation and restlessness to hallucinations or delusions.

Further, UTIs can speed up the progression of dementia, making it crucial for caregivers to understand how to recognize and limit risks for UTIs in seniors.

How to Prevent UTIs in Seniors With Dementia

To help your senior loved one minimize risks for a urinary tract infection, follow these precautions:

  • Monitor fluid intake, encouraging the senior to have six to eight glasses of water a day
  • Prompt the senior to use the bathroom several times a day, approximately every two to three hours
  • Ensure that the senior maintains good hygiene, including daily showers

Most importantly, notice behavior changes. Sudden falls, confusion or an onset of incontinence may warn of a possible UTI. Contact your loved one’s physician for guidance or a check-up.

Has your senior loved one experienced a UTI? What effects did this have on his or her dementia? Please share your comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • cindy

    my mother has been diagnosed with dementia with psychosis. She has just been diagnosed with a uti. She has previously had a uti when her dementia symptoms have occurred. Could she have been misdiagnosed with the dementia?

    • Phil

      How is your mum now?

    • lorna senter

      She may have been, she should have been prescribed antibiotics then reassessed when the course of antibiotics had been completed. I would interested to know how she is now 6 months on. Lorna

    • Luls77

      Repeating my post, for you. I know it’s 2 years out, so wondering how it turned out for you. My dad was 80 when we experienced this first hand. Doctors immediately diagnosed my dad with dementia or early stage of Alzheimers. We were shocked as it occurred overnight where he didn’t know where he was. Doctors generally seem to say “well…he’s 80 and dementia is common”. Thank God for my friend who told me her aunt has the same symptoms and it turned out it was a UTI, NOT dementia. I wonder how many people are falsely misdiagnosed. Once the infection was treated, he went back to normal. Unfortunately, he takes other meds that make him susceptible to UTIs, so he has this a couple of times a year.The medical field should check any senior that is exhibiting any strange behavior for UTI first and foremost before scaring families with an Alzheimer diagnosis.

  • Ann

    My Mom has mild demetia after a stroke 3 years ago. UTI a week ago where admitted to hospital. increased memory loss and confusion still present after returning home. Is this common and will she return to previous mental capacity?

    • D.A.

      It took my mom 2 months to mentally recover from a UTI. We thought she had alzeimers, but then she finally snapped out of it. Unfortunately, after a month of normal behavior, she developed another UTI, and another back to back. Now even after treatment she remains agitated and has been given an Alzeimer’s diagnosis. I do believe if she could quit getting the uti’s, she would become more normal, but the uti’s seem to be ongoing. She refuses to drink very much.

      • Kevin H

        Same problem with my Dad. He has a catheter and gets frequent UTI’s. He seems to be starting to return to normal after an infection…and then he has another one and gets paranoid and disoriented again.
        He also refuses to drink more liquids. He says he never had to before, why should he start now. No amount of explaining or begging gets him to drink more. Doctor says he has mild dementia, but it just seems a lot worse because of constant infections.

        • carolyn miller

          My dad started obsessing about lining up things in threes, having people say and write his name all night we finally called the ambulance here he had a UTI, he is home now somewhat better mentally but not back all the way. We are having him evaluated for dementia next month, but just like others I read he refuses to drive k more and does not see anything wrong with him. I do not see his situation getting better and mom refuses to check into assisted living. Horrible disease.

          • Kevin H

            My mother is in total denial about my Dad’s condition. Refuses to discuss assisted living. Ordered me to leave the house last time I brought it up. Even changed the locks at one point because I came by in middle of week to check on them and no one answered the door…so I let myself in…she said I had no right to do that. Claims they are fine and not getting old and needing help. You can see the strain of caring for Dad is impacting her health a lot, but she refuses to accept any meaningful help. Have had family, friends and pastor talk to her…she just get angry at all these people who should mind their own business (her words). It seems like we have no choice but to wait until she gets bad enough to no longer deny it.

          • Karen

            Wow, that sounds so stressful. Unfortunately, something major will have to happen in order for her eyes to be opened to his condition. Pray pray pray! I am sort of in the same boat, with my mom and getting this UTI infection, which is causing all of her confusion and delusions. She refused to go with the ambulance the other day. And once they left, she put her coat on and said she had to go down the street to meet a child 3 houses down (who didn’t even exist). Man it takes a toll on my sister, whom she lives with. It’s just so hard to see our parents like this.

          • Kevin H

            Something major did happen about 2 weeks ago. My Mom fell down a flight of stairs and broke some vertebrae. She has had 2 surgeries and could need 6 months to recover with therapy. And may always have to wear a back brace from now on. She is very angry with me because I moved my Dad into an assisted living with memory care when she went into the hospital. I am widowed with 2 sons and a full time salary job. I can’t take care of my Dad all day. And a full time at-home nurse is more expensive than assisted living. And my Dad has become very hostile over the last few months, so I refuse to have my sons live with that. Also, I hope that in the assisted living with trained medical people my Dad will stop getting new UTI’s so rapidly. I think my parents were not following sanitary procedures and causing contamination with the catheter. And my Dad is very much at his worst in behavior when he has a UTI.

      • Becky Stultz

        A friend of mine was recently hospitalized. I had spoke with her several days before, she was having hallucinations. I know she has a drinking problem. She is 65 she recently told me that she has been in the hospital for the past 4 days and they diagnosed her as having a UTI and everything else was okay is this possible?

    • Lynn C

      It could be some other kind of infection causing her returned confusion, that’s what happened to my husband. He had cellulitis in a lesion on his arm after his If I was gone & his confusion returned with it.

  • Mathrulzz

    My Mother experienced sever hallucinations two years ago with an undiagnosed uti. She was living at an assisted living facility at the time. Now, her symptom is withdrawing from interaction with people by pretending to be asleep. She is in the hospital and some people she will not respond to at all. I either have to shake and talk to her ir if she hears a male voice she will respond. All other test results are fine.

    • Karen

      She may not be “pretending to sleep”. My mom is having all these same symptoms, and once in a while she goes into a catatonic state. I shake her, yell near her ear, and she is basically stiff. Looks like a corpse. And after an hour, she wakes up and is disoriented. We read online that this can happen to people with severe anxiety attacks. Do you think your mother might have had that too? We did find out she had bacteria in her urine, and we are waiting to see if the antibiotic will help.

  • Refreshing Springs
  • steph

    hi my 82 year old mother who is diabetic had a uti from December 2014 to march 2015 she had five courses of antibiotics and eventually hospital and intravenous anti biotics. she had a lot of confusion and memory loss while she had the infection. it is now clear but her short term memory doesn’t seem quite right. can the uti cause dementia?

  • Wendy N Steve Wilson

    My husband has PPA and had a UTI so bad that he was lethargic and wouldn’t eat. He would grimmace like he was constipated but wasn’t. He finally had a fever and some discharge so he was given antibiotics. Once the medicince started working, he regained color, started eating and drinking and talking. It was amazing the difference.

  • Leslie Peterfeso

    My 91 year old mother- who was diagnosed with mild Alzheimers a few months before – had been complaining of dizziness, and we noticed she had less energy than usual. The last time she saw a doctor about the dizziness it was suspected that her problem was dehydration, as she only always deprived herself of fluids out of fear of incontinence. However, she stated she had no other symptoms that would have indicated a UTI. One day she took an unusually long nap and when I arrived at her house she was unable to dress herself, and her speech was babbling. Her doctor in the emergency room first suspected she’d had a stroke, but tests ruled that out and confirmed she had a UTI. She was admitted to the hospital for three days of IV antibiotic and discharged to home with someone staying with her 24/7. Her cardiologist took her off Celebrex because her white blood cell count was very low, rather than high as it should be when fighting an infection such as a UTI.
    The first morning at home I found Mom asleep under her sewing table – she thought she was in bed! The next morning I heard her moan and found her on the floor with a deep gash on her head and huge bruises on her forehead; she had apparently fallen against her dresser while trying to get to the toilet. Again a stroke was ruled out but her dementia rapidly increased to the point where she struggled to speak, suck and swallow. We took her home for hospice care and she died on the third day.

    • Mmarch

      Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry for your loss and the way it happened. I hope that you and your family will soon begin to experience some peace.

  • Rita ckay

    My sister just got out if critical care they said she had a uti , put her on antibiotics and she was fine for two days , then she started signs of physiological episodes see things and hearing voices. We thought she was going crazy. Took her to doctor and she said that the infection had become worse and that’s why she was experiencing these crazy signs she again put her in a stronger antibiotic and we will see. It was just today. She was throwing stuff in the dumpster and telling us the police were coming to arrest her. Wth you think after being in the critical care for three days they would have checked to see if the uti was getting better before they sent her home. Idiots that’s my sister. Hospitals collect a lot of money from insurance you think they would do a better job before releasing their critical care patients Obamacare sucks

    • Karen

      You don’t know how relieved it makes me to read this. My mom has been acting all crazy like this too. Hearing voices, telling her she’s going to die, and telling her that she needs to go down the street to meet a child 3 houses down??? (who doesn’t even exist!). We brought her to the ER a few weeks ago because she had a very weird catatonic like anxiety attack. They said she had some bacteria in her urine and gave her a prescription. She’s still acting crazy, so my sister is taking her to the doctor today to see if she needs a stronger one. We were thinking she was just losing her mind and that we’d need to put her in a home right away. This is so weird! Never would have imagined that UTIs could do this!

      • donny

        My mother is exactly the same. She has been on meds for 10 days and seems to be getting worse. How long has it been for you? Is she back to normal? It is the craziest thing i have ever seen. The hospital keeps asking me if she has always been crazy. I say no, I just talked to her before and she was fine.

        • Pamela

          My amazing mom in law has been diagnosed with UTI and is having hallucinations is parnoid. This has been going on for over a week and she was in hospital for 2 days with very strong antibiotics. She was sent home and is still not acting her normal self. How long does it take for them to get back to normal? I am so worried for her ans I want my mom in law back the way she was. Anyone have any answers? Please email me with any information that anyone has. Thank you so much.
          Ladymosttimes@yahoo.com

  • Maggie Sindane

    My 87 years Mother has Alzheimer’s and few days ago she became very ill to an extend that she could not walk, sit, talk, chew or swallow and this was very worrying to me and my GP advised that I take her to hospital immediately and after numerous tests she was diagnosed with Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). She was put on a drip and antibiotics. After three days of hospitalization her condition improved and she started talking, open eyes and was able to chew and swallow. She is still in hospital recuperating.

  • Nanc

    My mom is 90, has macular degeneration and has very little eye sight left. She was diagnosed with dementia in the past year, lives in a nursing home and requires 24 hour care. She has had several UTIs in the past that wouldn’t go away. One time it was so bad, she was in the hospital for days and ended up with hospital delirium. I changed her doctor at that point and found out they had never cultured the urine and found it was resistant to the antibiotic they always gave her.

    Then the hallucinations started and she was seen by a psychiatrist, who determined her depression medication was causing them. We tapered off that and it got much better. Her memory is poor, but she was stable. 10 days ago the hallucinations started again, holiday weekend and her dr wasn’t on call. On Call dr prescribed Haldol, as needed. She still seemed off, but didn’t talk about hallucinations. She was talking about dying and weird dreams.

    She called me last week and in talking, said she had burning pain while urinating, she had told the CNA. It didn’t get to the nurse until I called the next day to get the status of her UA. So, after several days of waiting on results, they did a second test today and said she has a bad UTI and finally put her on meds.

    This is so frustrating, because of the dementia. I feel like she should have a UA done every time she has hallucinations or symptoms. She told me two weeks ago she had dizziness and even last week.

    Is it common for them to order a UA everytime there are hallucinations? I feel like communication with the home is poor and will be setting up a meeting. I can’t be there every day and her dementia and vision are adding to this.

    • Melanie

      My mother is 89 and has one UTI after another. We can always tell when she has a UTI when she gets confused and restless. She also has macular degeneration and mild dementia. She is in a skilled nursing facility, but for four years I have had to be pro-active and her medical intercessor.
      This is what I do: contact her doctor and request a weekly UA (urinary analysis), whether she has symptoms or not–make it a standing order. Pyridium is great for eliminating the burning during urination–BUT a lot of Medicare plans do not have it on their formularies. We got around that by purchasing AZO for Urinary Infections– 97mg x 2 tablets. A script will run 200mg, but very difficult to get. The AZO tabs are over the counter…work great and a lot less expensive!
      You will get the UA preliminary results back within 24 hours. From there, the UA should be cultured for the TYPE of bacteria. Each UTI has different bacteria. After the antibiotic has been prescribed and used, allow 48 to 72 hours after the last dose before beginning another UA (and make sure it is a clean catch).
      Another tip is to stay on top of water intake as well as how often briefs are changed (if incontinent). Cranberry juice/supplements are great BUT make sure the patient is not on warfarin, which will reduce the effectiveness of the anti-stroke/blood clotting.
      Melanie

  • Lorraine

    My mother is in a facility in California. It is a Board and Care facility run by a nurse and his mother. The caregivers do not have training in dementia and/or previous senior care experience. She was placed here by my brother at his insistence about cost saving. We are told that a nurse visits weekly and a doctor comes monthly. My mother also has her own physician, an internist, that has written us after many questions about her well being such as weight, blood pressure and other types of regular information even though they say they are seeing her. The internist wrote that my my mother is in a state that she would not react well to any medication other than the sleep medication they give her at night to sleep. At my sister’s last visit, she was given a urinalysis report from one of the caregivers. It was a lab report that showed positive for nitrates in her urine as well as an organism of escherichia coli, greater than 100,000 colonies/mil. My mother has been falling regularly, experiencing cuts and bruising; she has been disoriented more than usual and found this morning in her bed sleeping in her own urine without a diaper. She has lost weight, had dried and peeling lips and not being provided with daily water. I am at a loss after calling the doctor that she (the internist) indicates that my mother’s form of symptoms cannot benefit from any medication and that she is he is in the best facility for her symptoms. I disagree but cannot convince my brother of our concerns. Is anyone aware of this type of UTI?

    • csam

      I want to share my experience with UTi, want to help. My husband 75 years old becomes weak, doesn’t eat, stays in bed, no longer gets up to go to the bathroom. So he took him to ER, was going to be sent home because all blood test was normal. Just when we were almost leaving, he was able to urinate, they took a test and was diagnosed with UTI. after a course of antibiotics, he became normal, no longer confused. Then after a month, it happened again, exactly the same symptoms. It is true, the only symptoms of uti in the elderly is weakness,loss of appetite, confusion, short term memory loss, and bad temper. I am planning to regularly do at home test for uti, suggested by urologist. Can be bought from the pharmacy. Uti should be ruled out first without diagnosing dementia because these is reversible when uti clears. Hope it helps.

    • SACK

      I am so sorry to hear about your mother but that facility is not a good place for her to be at. She needs to be in a hospital, all they want is money. You can tell there do not care about you mom. I am taking care of my mom now and she is 81 yrs old. She has dementia and now has a UTI. Please go there and call 911 so they can take your mom to the hospital to get the proper care. I’m sorry to say but she will not make it there, they do not care about besides it’s not there mom, shes your and if your brother doesn’t see that, then he doesn’t care either. Sorry to be so blunt but that is not right.. I will keep you, your mom and family in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Katrina Milam

      This is a post about UTI’s, not about senior care facilities, thus the lack of a good response to your question. it’s also 8 months old, but may still be relevant to you and maybe some other readers. As a healthcare professional, I’ll attempt to answer your question.
      First of all, it does sound like you might have some grounds for concern about your mother’s care. There are reasons why some of the things you mentioned could happen in one or two instances, but if it is a pattern then it is a problem and if it is noted by her personal physician then it is definitely a problem. I would contact the adult protective services in your area or, better yet, call her personal doctor and see if he or she would suggest the next place for you to contact. You could also have her admitted to the hospital next time she is sick( her Dr could help with that) and then speak to the social worker at the hospital and state that you would like her to be placed elsewhere when she is released from the hospital. Your brother needs to be in agreement with this, if he is her power of attorney and you are not.
      Also, one of the best things you can do is visit your mother regularly. This is partly so that you can take note of any areas for concern, but also you can provide some of her care yourself until you can arrange for a better facility. You can surely get her a pitcher of water if she has none or give her some chapstick. If she is not getting good care, she will get better care if they know you are there frequently aside from the care and love that you, yourself, can provide. Sometimes a family simply can’t afford the level of care they would prefer. So, supplement it by being visible and trying to provide some care for your Mom yourself.
      It sounds as if you also need to have a calm and serious conversation with your brother where you have written down all the problems you have witnessed while you visited your Mom frequently.

  • Carolyn melvin

    My husband has alzeimers and keeps getting uti’s very frequently , he is at the va home in . What can I do to help him from getting them so often . He gets very angry, very agitated, very loud and very hateful . He is such a different person when he does not have a uti . Please help me on how I can help him . He drinks lots of water and cranberry juice every day ! Thank you !

    • OK, I’m going to relay our experience in hopes that this will prevent it from happening to anyone else. seriously, nobody talks about UTIs – and how they can seriously harm an otherwise healthy senior’s body.

      my father had a few UTIs – as the result of not being able to fully empty his bladder. he’d not had trouble urinating, but evidentially not enough was being eliminated. when he started acting odd, my sister got him to the ER and, sure enough, he’d been retaining more than 1500 ml of urine. by the time he’d been checked in, he was flat out hallucinating.

      they put in a catheter and determined he’ll need one from now on. here’s the scary part — the week before this, he was outside weeding and trimming hedges. now, he can’t walk without the aid of a walker. worse, it seems to have affected his short term memory. he’s lost so much weight, and is a shell of his former self.

      • Melodie

        Carolyn, I’ve seen my mother (89) recover time after time from UTI’s. The catheter is not a cure and can make UTI’s more frequent. Plus with her dementia, my mom still thought she needed to go to the bathroom because the pressure was there from the catheter.

        If he’s having trouble emptying his bladder, I’d look for a second opinon for another way to treat.

  • My 85 year old mother has Dementia. She seems to be getting UTIs frequently. Her symptoms include:

    . Hoarseness in her voice.
    . Unsteady walking.
    . Falling.
    . Increased confusion.

    Our PCP usually prescribes a twice daily treatment with Cipro for 4 days. This seems to work, but, the problem returns in short order.

    We try to get her to drink fluids, but, she also has a prolapse bladder.

  • vineet gautam

    My father age is 67 he is suffering with dementia for last 10 days for last one year he facing problem in eating but he is eating food suddenly 20 days he was degoinesed with phenomneoun and well treated he is recognise all family members but suddenly he got fever 105 degrees that was well treatment has been he also overcome with this but suddenly his blood pressure go down 70/60 after 2 days of treatment his blood pressure is control but now we have come to know that he has infection in urine and phenemonia has reoccur he is under treatment he also suffering with fever also around 100 degree plz advice what I shoulddo now to save him

  • vineet gautam

    Plz advice

  • vineet gautam

    Professional advice is immediately required

  • Marlo

    My mother was being treated for a UTI as well as flu/coughing. She has decided to stop taking her medication. She also wears a pessary but has not taken it out in over a year – the doctor at the urgent care center said that it may have contributed to her UTI. She had had frequent UTI’s in the past. Do I have any recourse to get her medical treatment without her consent?

  • Becky

    Okay you guys I will share what I was told by my Mom’s nurse practitioner, who is very smart and has cared for many many elderly people. Careful on the antibiotics. YES if the infectino is bad enough of course a trial of antibiotics, and YES hygeine to prevent poopy from getting near penis or urethra and contaminating, very important. HOWEVER I was told that almost everyone over 80 will test positive on a test strip. Only a urinalysis will reveal how bad it is. A test strip will show positive at a low level, and if it is at a very low level, it is not going to be the cause of hallucinations. There wil lbe other symptoms – cloudy urine etc etc. The problem Mom’s NP explained, is that when you use an antibiotic, you destroy utterly their good tummy bacteria, and then they cannot absorb nutrition, and will still feel bad, and the UTI can come right back. A low level UTI should not be treated by repeated courses of antibiotics, without replacing the probiotics – especially after they finish. Hygeine, good water intake, yoghurt. NP called treating low level UTIs with antibiotics a merry go round. And then when they really need the meds, they are resistant. Careful out there.

  • Melodie

    My mother (89) has had many UTI’s this past year, which actually started becoming chronic because she was on a blood thinner, Xarelto. We did not realize her blood was becoming too thin and she was bleeding internally. There were practically no symptoms of this until she became so sick, weak and confused that we thought she was just in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. She was on hospice, but I finally took her off hospice and got her to the ER. They diagnosed the GI bleed and UTI. It has taken 6 months, but her UTI’s are now less frequent, being every 8-10 weeks instead of every 3-4 weeks. She continues to improve. Her confusion has cleared quite a bit, she can walk with her walker, play her piano and takes part in the family. She lives with us. I read someone’s post about using cranberry juice to fight a UTI. If you are well and drink cranberry juice, it allows the bladder wall to keep the bacteria from clinging to it and can help reduce the possibility of a UTI beginning. For someone already sick with UTI, the bacteria has to clling to the bladder wall to be effective. The antiobiotic doesn’t take effect just by going through the blood stream and by the time it is dispelled in the urine, it is ineffective. Also, someone said to be careful of taking cranberry juice if using blood thinners. True – cranberry juice can thin blood and cause warfarin or xarelto users to have too thin of blood, which can lead to a dangerous condition. In order to trully determine if an antibiotic is the best one to fight a UTI, make sure the lab runs the urine culture “with sensitivity”. This will tell them if the right antibiotic has been chosen. If your loved one is still acting as sick or worse after 2-3 days of being on the antibiotic, it’s a good indication they may not have given the best antibiotic for the type of bacteria in her system or she might be allergic to it. You should take her back in for another urinalysis. Lesson learned: don’t write off an illness or strange mental behaviors as just aging or Alzheimer’s. Get them in to a good doctor or nurse practitioner with experience with elderly folks.

  • lynn

    I’m having real problems getting my dad to drink more fluids. He act like I am being mean. I thought he was really getting bad. Wanting to put his external cathader,think I spelled it wrong,anyway I would tell him to put it on, he would stick up to his mouth and speak in to it. Got him to the hospital after he complained about pain. Will the mental go back to what it was or is this permanent now? Plus he has harder time walking??

    • Debbie Cathey

      My mom has had several UTIs over the last four years.she has come back from the others but this time it has not happened yet.

  • Meshal

    My mother (59Y) got many UTIs and still getting it. She has renal cancer (Carcinoma) spreads in brain, diabetes, and seizure. But she was behave normal, until she got first time UTI 2yrs ago after growing abscess surgery. Since that her mental behave became different, shouting, repeating words, and confused. She received many antibiotics, but UTI still recurrent. Doctors said that its from brain tumor, But neurosurgery doctors ensure that tumor is not the cause of the problem. After 2 years suffering, I got observations summery: 1- When she get antibiotic she getting better. 2- when she gets antifungal (Fluconazole) she getting active. Noted: she is bedridden, & drowsy after she got many infections (UTI) since 2 yrs.

  • Lisa

    My 74-year-old mother was diagnosed with her first UTI in the ER today. She had mild to moderate dementia and became very restless, agitated, anxious, confused within the past three days, which prompted the ER visit. A quinolone antibiotic has been started; we’ll see how things change after the course of treatment is done. We switched her from independent living to personal care to get help with medication management and closer support.

  • john

    I have worked in the health care industry for thirty five years, but I have never experienced the effects of a UTI until my 91 year old mother developed one post surgery. One day she was responsive and coherent, the next day she was showing signs of dementia. It was very perplexing. When speaking directly to her she would respond appropriately. If left alone, she would talk about a variety of subjects that did not make any sense. The doctors have said it is an infection and we are waiting to see how she responds to antibiotics. I just do not know if she has enough stamina to carry this through. Such a sad situation for the elderly to go through!

  • Audrey

    I’m concerned. My mother is in a rehab/nursing care facility and they finally did the UTI test and confirmed she has an infection. Started her on antibiotic pills and we asked if she could have a shot instead. Dr said yes, and then promptly put her on an IV drip (she was already agitated and we feared she would yank out the IV). But we went along with it. That was yesterday. Today I found out from my sister – they put her on a painkiller. I think they did that to make her docile since she hasn’t needed a painkiller since the second day she arrived (she’s been there 12 days). Is this considered malpractice? Drugging up patients just to make life easier on the facility?

    • Cate Murphy

      She may well have pain caused by the (delayed diagnosis) of the UTI and therefore needed the pain relief.

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  • Luls77

    This is SO important. My dad was 80 when we experienced this first hand. Doctors immediately diagnosed my dad with dementia or early stage of Alzheimers. We were shocked as it occurred overnight where he didn’t know where he was. Doctors generally seem to say “well…he’s 80 and dementia is common”. Thank God for my friend who told me her aunt has the same symptoms and it turned out it was a UTI, NOT dementia. I wonder how many people are falsely misdiagnosed. Once the infection was treated, he went back to normal. Unfortunately, he takes other meds that make him susceptible to UTIs, so he has this a couple of times a year.The medical field should check any senior that is exhibiting any strange behavior for UTI first and foremost before scaring families with an Alzheimer diagnosis.

  • Bernadette

    My 73 year-old mother has had a UTI for the past 6+ months, on and off and refuses to take any medications now because she is paranoid, acting as if she’s schizophrenic. She believes there are witches in the house that my father is having “relations” with women that aren’t “real”. She talks to people that “aren’t there” and thinks her neighbors are harboring her grandchildren against their will. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what she has gone through. The first time she starting acting erratic and schizophrenic-like, we took her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with late-onset schizophrenia. A few days later when we took her to the emergency room because she wouldn’t sleep, eat and was talking about a “chip” being implanted in her ear by the government, they found she had a Urinary Tract Infection. This was at a time when she would still go to the doctor. After her taking antibiotics for a few days, she improved, but then she stopped taking the meds and began with the delusions and violent behavior. I called the psych doc again said something different to me when I called him saying it was dementia. In any case, whatever it is, the psychiatrist tells us that there is nothing we can do but call the police if she becomes a danger to herself or others; that the police is the only entity that could remove her from home and get her to a hospital and that we need to call the police when she is unmanageable. She will not go willingly to a hospital nor drink anything we give her or take any decent food we give her. At times, she may eat something on her own but it’s usually something like a cookie or piece of cake, or piece of cheese that she’ll take a big chunk off of and bite. She rarely sleeps and begins to throw things in the middle of the night and tries to leave the house. Her brother (75 YOA) has had schizophrenia which began in his early twenties and has been on anti-psychotic medications all of his life.

    My father and my sister (43 YOA) live with my mother. My sister works and my mother is being physical with my father as he tries to detain her so she doesn’t leave the house. My mother is EXTREMELY strong and mobile for her age and looks more like a sixty year-old woman rather than a 73 year-old woman. It makes it very hard for my father to sleep at all or eat healthy as he can’t leave her alone in another room for fear she will leave the house. My sister has missed a lot work, as have I and my two other sisters, and we all have families to care for but this illness is making it so hard to live healthy. My sister that lives with my mother has just her job as she has no family and she cannot afford to miss any work or stay up late or all night to care for my mother. She says she is ready to move out because she can’t deal with the madness anymore and we can’t blame her.

    My father says he doesn’t want to call the police for fear they may place her in jail, or worse, shoot her as in some of the recent shootings by police officers of the unarmed and mentally ill. I’ve called the psychiatrist and have asked for a hospital social worker to come and make home visits to document her behavior and his answer was, “I just don’t know what good that would do”.

    I guess I’m hoping that someone might read this and have had a similar experience and tell us if there is any hope for help.

    • Betsy

      Bernadette. Hmmm 73 is way too old for “late onset Schizophrenia” to suddenly occur. You can google this. Call your mother’s physician. Your mother sounds like she qualifies as “gravely disabled”. She needs an evaluation and she could be psychiatrically hospitalized. I don’t know where you live but if you are in the US, your mother would only be briefly hospitalized. Call your local psychiatric hospital or County Mental Health Crisis service. Describe this situation to them. Someone is going to get hurt given your description. Your mother will not go to jail unless she commits a crime. If she does not have her symptoms addressed she may well end up committing a crime. Your father is well intended but not actually helping the situation.

      • Guest

        My mother (in UK) was diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia three years ago, aged 86! And is still on the antipsychotic drug which they prescribed during her stay in a secure mental facility!

  • Susan Linkletter

    My mother in law about a month ago was suffering from extreme pain which we believed was from arthritis, but her doctor saw no signs of inflammation – despite the fact that she was getting so weak ahe could not hold herself up. Eventually she fell and ended up in the hospital where the family was told that she had a UTI and dementia. The dementia diagnosis was a complete surprise since she had exhibited no signs of dementia at a family reunion which she had attended just the day before. She was however talking like a crazy person and we as a family decided that we as a family would have to figure out why since the doctors were simply sedating her and treating her infection, but seemed to treat the dementia as normal for a woman her age.

    Through research, we found that her symptoms were more characterisic of delerium instead of dementia. We told the doctors that delirium can be caused by extreme doses of sedatives, an infection, an electrolyte imbalance and extreme dehydration – by this time my mother in law was suffering from all four. We made the doctors treat the UTI and give her an IV to rehydrate her and cease treating her with Atavan and fentonal. We saw immediate improvement in her condition but she was still too weak to walk and although she seemed to improve mentally for a couple of weeks, she relapsed and started hallucinating again, made wild claims about hospital staff and family members and was internalizing everthing happening around her. She could interpret the moaning of the woman she shared her room with, every cry from other patients on her floor was somebody calling out to her and she would claim to be on her feet all day even though she hadn’t been out of bed for weeks. During this time she still knew everybody that came to visit and answer every question we asked her about her past with complete accuracy, she just had no grip on her current reality.

    Last week we talked the doctors to check again for a recurrence of her UTI and sure enough, they found that she still had an infection. We are now educating her doctors about the link between UTI’s and delirium and hoping that she can someday get her strength back and return to normal mentally once the UTI is again cleared up.

    We are totally appalled at how our family member was treated by her doctors. When she went into the hospital all they did was sedate her and give her painkillers to the point that she was too weak to eat or drink. She was within hours of death when the family insisted that she be hooked up to an IV for she was so week that she could not eat or drink even with help. We had to get power of attorney to see her hospital records where we found out she was being sedated to keep her comatose. We ordered the hospital staff to cease sedation. The hospital records also showed that she had received treatment for her UTI but no followup tests were ordered to see if it was really gone. We had to ask for these tests to be done again this week, where they found that she was still suffering from a UTI. Needless to say, we are very disappointed in the way she has been treated by her doctors who seemed to think that it would be OK to let this woman just die from a UTI.

    • Kiki J.

      My mom is going through something similar – she has been in the hospital for over a month – they diagnosed her with early dementia initially but she has an infection from some wounds that she didn’t take care of properly and she is diabetic. She has been on 4 different IV antibiotics, has a 102.9 fever, is delirious, has fallen 3 times, has severe chills, is in extreme pain from her wounds. The doctors are trying to figure out why her fever is so high and today my supervisor at work suggestd I mention getting a catheter urine sample to check for a UTI and they are going to do that after she comes from MRI (checking to see if she has infection in her foot bone) so I hope it is a UTI vs the bone infection because that would be horrible being that they would likely have to amputate her foot/leg to stop it from spreading.

      • Susan Linkletter

        I hope it works out for your mom. My mother in law is still battling her UTI, they cannot seem to cure it. Her delirium comes and goes, most days are bad days right now, we are oping that changes once her infection is successfully treated.

  • Tai

    My 98 year old mom was hospitalized for a UTI and fluid on the lungs in September. She was hallucinating with the UTI, but following abx she came back to normal, as did the lungs. She was transferred to a nursing home on “comfort care” protocol, taken off all her meds, and continued to improve. Even her BP (180 to 220 a year ago while on meds) came down to normal. She looked and acted the best in a long while. One doctor even told her she could go home. I remained with her for 2 months and said my goodbyes, thinking I’d be back in 2 months or if there was another crisis. Five days after I left she developed another UTI along with its accompanying hallucinations, but since she had left orders for no meds it was not treated this time. She died before I could get back. She had a super strong constitution, never even had the flu, and I think if treated could have rallied again. The saddest part for me is that her death certificate says failure to thrive and dementia. In my book, dementia doesn’t go away with abx, as it did for her. For such a mentally sharp lady up until the final 5 days of her life, I hate to see that written on her death certificate. There are so few, if any, studies done on this demographic and it’s such a shame. I truly believe she had another good year or two in her if there had been a more lasting way to treat that darn UTI.

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