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.

    • Andrena YaYa

      My mother over the course of two days lost her mind. She was confused and showed obvious signs of someone with Alzheimer’s and denentia. She went in with low calcium but it was the UTI a and kidneys that caused her to show those symptoms. She regressed to a two year old talking about poo and didn’t know who people were. She was rude at times and talked gibberish. She saw things that weren’t there and accused people of doing thisngs they weren’t doing. She pulled out her IVs and peed her bed. She was 18 days in the hospital and back home now. She seems to be back to normal but short with people and itlrratable.

      • Lisa Jennings

        Hi. This is so weird. My mom was happy and active but could be a little harsh with people at times. Had a UTI and was treated for it last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday started sleeping continuously. She started shaking on Thursday and we took her to the emergency room on Friday. This is Tuesday and she won’t eat, drink, walk and only grunts and tries to rip her clothes off. She has digressed into someone we do not know. We are looking for a rehab facility for her now but my sister and I as well as all of my siblings are freaked out.

        • Amy Mielke

          The exact same thing happened to my mom last August. We had to put her in the psych ward where they diagnosed her with lewy body dementia THEN said she had a UTI as well. I think they got the order of that diagnosis wrong and now a year later she is in a memory care facility with people who are truly “gone” with memory and she is just agitated because she’s still there. I am fighting my dad to have her reassessed but he refuses. With all that said, have your mom checked out again after the UTI is completely gone! My thoughts and prayers to you! I 100% UNDERSTAND!

      • Amy Mielke

        This sounds exactly like my mom too. But a year later my dad refuses to let her back home or be reassessed. Im just sick over the whole thing. She seems just fine. Sure, memory isn’t great but she’s totally self aware and knows everyone and everything that’s going on. She’s very depressed and irritable because of where she’s living. My dad insists that’s the dementia (lewy body) i’m no doctor but I disagree. I don’t know what to do to help my mom. Thoughts and prayers to you as well

        • david

          Does your dad not believe she is well enough to return home? Why not want his wife back? Can she live with you instead? I cannot imagine the distress of living in assisted care for whatever reason when it is truly not needed. I too would somehow try to get through to your father of her circumstance then (UTI caused it) and now (she is well.) Men get UTIs as well, would he want same treatment?

      • Karla B

        Hello, Andrena, how is your mom now?
        My 91 year old mother has had this same experiece, she was a sharp as a tack 3 weeks ago. We noticed changes and took her to the ER. We told them that this behavior was unu
        sual. They did find a UTI after being released from ER 2nd time. We treated her with oral antibiotics and then took her back. The 3rd time they Catharine’s her and found blood and pus in the urine. This is day 5 in the hospital and she is still paranoid and imagining people hurting her.
        I am afraid this behavior will be permanent. Any helpful comments are appreciated.

  • 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.

  • 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.
          [Link Removed]

    • Sherry kennedy

      I have a daughter who is only 29 years old she has unnary tract infections she is living in the streets most of the time I can’t get her to the doctors she claims that if she goes to get any kind of help that people will kill her. She says things that are really crazy.I don’t have the funds at the moment to take legal action To get her under care. Her ex just recently told me that that a doctor said this would happen. But due to their lack of insurance they couldn’t treat her with the surgery. I working on getting the funds to get her insurance and get her in my custody. It makes me so mad because. She has a little boy.

  • 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.

  • 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.

      • lee ann marshman

        Dear Katrina,
        I’m sorry that you seem brother by this poor women’s request for help for her mom!!! Shame on you for being in the healthcare field!!! Your lack of empathy is some what sad!!! Sometimes when your a caretaker, is gets overwhelming for the caretaker!!! So it’s should be ok to ask any questions before getting to the the point!!!

        • Jstar

          She was speaking to the fact that the lack of response to her question may have been due to the nature of the thread—UTI. Then she helped by giving some feedback. Don’t admonish her.

  • 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.

    • Amy Mielke

      I completely agree!!!!! However how do I fight the doctor that had my mom more on a daily dose of antibiotic, even though it’s more gone, just to keep it away bay! That’s awful I said. No one agrees with me because “i’m not a doctor” AAAAHHHHH

      • Becky

        I saw that I posted that two years ago. Guess what. Mom is now on a daily dose of anabiotic and doing well. At a certain point it seems like they are colonized and it’s about suppression. But she’s 87 now. I think it depends on the age. There are pros and cons

        • Amy Mielke

          Im so glad you’re mom is doing well!! Thank you for commenting back. Im fresh in this nightmare with my mom that’s only 67, now in a home against her wishes because my dad is terrified to bring her home. Blessings to you!

  • 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 sowick, weak and confused that we thought she was just in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. Whe 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 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, and 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.

  • 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.

      • zenyatta

        Hi Debbie, did your Mom recover from the UTI? My Mom has had multiple UTI’s over the course of several years. The last one has caused her to become confused. We are retesting her urine to see if it has cleared up. It could possibly be a worsening of vascular dementia.

  • 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!

    • david

      Did your mother finally recover? I certainly hope so.

  • 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.

    • david

      Yes, overmedicating is common and unlawful. I would hire a lawyer to protect your mother.

  • 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!

    • Judy Sweetheart

      Bernadette, my mother is in the final stage of Alzheimer’s and gets frequently uti’s. They manifest as rapid, acute onset of confusion, agitation, weakness and can be combative. The hospice MD/RN’s have NEVER been the to diagnois diagnosed her(always Blane it on progressionof Alzheimer’s…..I have diagnosis every single one using the AZO urinary tract infection test strip which I purchased at Walgreens. Each time the AZO test came out positive, hospice would order urinalysis plus culture &sensitivity. I’m sure he AZO uti test strip is not infallible, but mom has had over 10 uti’so and the Azo test has never been wrong! I started routinely doing AZO testing once a week due to her advanced alzheimer’s and limited speech. I highly recommend it…you may still a battle with the medical staff but hold your ground till they do a urinalysis. Hope this might help you, it’s been a godsend for me.

    • hannah ammar

      I’d like to share what I did to help my mother, 76, suffering from the exact symptoms you describe – even the chip implanted by the government. I took her to a psychiatrist who prescribed Cymbalta (30MG) and Abilify (2MG), plus ZyPrexa for sleep (5MG). She also takes an antibiotic for the UTI. I use the over-the-counter test strips to confirm if she has one, and confirm it’s gone. You can buy the test strips at drug stores (usually 3 strips for $10), but you can also find a box of 50 for $10 on Amazon. Probiotics have been linked to helping with depression, you can buy them over-the-counter in the vitamin section. She gets one a day, plus a probiotic yogurt (Activia is good). She eats One-A-Day gummy vitamins. I also make sure she eats plenty of food (don’t ask, just hand her a plate of something tasty), gets lots of water (I add Emergen-C too sometimes), goes for walks and sleeps well at night. Sometimes I sleep with her if she feels afraid. The most important thing you need to do is reassure them that it is going to get better. Say “I love you” and give them hugs, pats on the back, hold their hand. In many ways, they are like small children, and need to be reassured. They need love. You have to become the parent who looks out for them. It takes a lot of patience on your part – but remember, the craziness is just a “symptom” of an illness, not the real person. I read positive messages everyday from “The Daily Word” (subscriptions are online). I keep talking to her about her “bad dreams” and repeat that even if she left, she’d be taking her mind with her, so nothing would improve. I remind her of what a good person she is, and give her something to look forward to (like “we can go to lunch today” or “let’s go see a movie tomorrow.”) She got much better, within about 10 days. Tell them “I can see you getting better!” and that gives them hope. Tell them millions have the same illness, it’s treatable, and they will recover. Love, hope, TLC, plus the three pillars: nutrition/sleep/exercise can bring them back to their true self.

  • 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.

        • david

          What did they give her? Did something finally work??

    • Kim

      I think our medical insurance is dictating that Dr.s not treat the elderly, but let them die. Your situation is a classic tell all. What a shame that our country or maybe I should say the medical insurance companies want to rid our elderly society.
      Susan Linkletter, how is your mother in law??

      • Susan Linkletter

        She is much better. We got her of of fentanyl and benzodiazapan. She is getting stronger,probably strong enough to learn to walk again but they refuse to give her physiotherapy. She can move all her limbs but is afraid to get up and walk on her own out of fear she will fall. They are sending her to a nursing home because she cannot walk and she has moments of dementia. We usually ask yhem to check for a UTI when that happens or we ask if they have given her any medications. Usually the UTI is back and needs treated again.

  • 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.

    • Phil Lesh Fan

      May your Mom’s memory be always for a blessing to you. UTI’s in the dementia world are really a challenge, both for the patient and the caregiver.


    • david

      So sorry to hear this. And for what it’s worth, I tend to agree that UTIs can cause severe health issues if not treated immediately. Even death. Thank you for this warning to others. Can I ask was ‘abx’ is?

  • Shelly Bottoms Domenici

    My mother in law was diagnosed with dementia a few months ago, I started to notice that she just wasn’t herself she thought she was in someone else’s house and wanted to know how to get home she would call me and ask if I could pick her up and take her home( she was home) . I started to think that her so called male friend was giving her something to make her loose it. He can tell her something & I could tell her something else but she believes every word he tells her . Anyway on Christmas Day 2016 she fell off her daughters porch steps and fractured her arm. She went home only to take another fall she was taken to the hospital by ambulance & come to find out she has a adversity the family was told that the uti was causing what was going on with her. I evermore that a uti could cause such problems . Thank you for your information it very helpful.

  • GT

    Good info. My 89-year old mom has early onset dimentia and in a span of 2-3 days, became totally confused in her surroundings (an Assisted Living apt) in which she has lived for 3 years. She thought she was in a new place and verbally said “she was losing it”. My nurse practitioner sister suspected and arranged a UTI urine specimen test which came back positive. After a day of antibiotics, mom is pretty much back to her normal self. PTL!

  • sally

    Well..proper nutrition is very important as well as staying hydrated but the elder dementia population obvious has a hard task following this regime due to their illness.Therefore, other caretakers need to ensure this proper balance. Elderly or not no one should suffer due to lack of proper care and basic nutritional care. In addition, cleanliness should also be monitor and tended to.

  • Cheryl

    My 77 year old Mother was diagnosed with dementia approximately 6 years ago. We began to notice the symptoms not too long after she underwent double bypass heart surgery. For the longest time, we tried to convince ourselves she would “bounce back” and that it was just a lingering after-affect of the surgery. But her symptoms continued to progress until finally, about a year ago, her neurologist officially began calling it “Dementia triggered by Alzheimers.”

    Around the middle of January of this year she became very weak, was much more disoriented than usual and had a terrible cough. I took her to the ER and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was treated and released one week later and came home to home health care and PT. She did okay for a couple of days, but by the end of one week at home, I was back at the ER with her, this time she was diagnosed with the flu. This time, she became completely delirious. One week later she was released, but this time, she was extremely weak and very disoriented, so the hospital recommended she be sent to a rehabilitation facility. She spent three weeks in rehab and made some good progress. When she came home, she was a little more clear (almost back to her “normal” confusion), and she could walk pretty well with a walker. Unfortunately though, after about two weeks at home (again with home therapy) she began to get weak and delirious again. Back to the ER, this time she was diagnosed with a UTI, a blood infection and Congestive Heart Failure. She was kept for only four days this time. They treated the infections and heart failure but she was still so weak and pretty much incoherent. I expressed my concerns to the doctor that treated her that she didn’t seem ready to be released. He told me they couldn’t keep her for weakness and confusion. We were given the choice again between a rehab facility or to have RN’s, PT’s and OT’s come to her home. We chose the home care as her three week stint in the rehab facility last time was awful.

    As of this writing, she has been home for one week and she can do nothing by herself. She can barely take one step, can’t feed herself, can’t use the bathroom by herself (and isn’t sure what to do when I get her on the toilet, which is a real struggle) and she babbles in incoherent words and gestures. The nursing and PT have only just begun, so my hopes aren’t that high right now.

    I’m hoping that someone who may have experienced something similar with a loved one will tell me that she will get well, and that there’s a chance that when she does she could go back to her physical and mental status before she became so ill.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Leo

    I have a 75yr old mother with Alzheimer’s and about 3 dementias. She is chronic with a uti. I would love some advice on how to get a stage 6-7 Alzheimer’s patient to wipe themselves properly. The doctors have no answers and she has been on every antibiotic you can think of. I agree about the cycle of antibiotics killing the good fauna. My mother lost 150-175 lbs in 2 years and not by exercising.

    • Pamela Allen

      Do Probiotics help? I have found taking them, and this is for anyone at any age including pets, with antibiotics, helps preserve the good fauna.

    • Laura

      They can’t wipe themselves. Someone has to do it for them. Stage 6-7 is like living with an infant. If you treat them lovingly, like an infant, it will be much more helpful

  • Ghazal

    My mother has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. But its all UTI that makes her brain functions improper. Lots of antibiotics but recurrent UTI. Then I found this website [Link Removed] and so thankful to blog author for best tips that not only cured UTI but also improved brain functioning.

    • Amy Mielke

      My mom was diagnosed with lewy body dementia because of her hallucinations and psychosis she experienced during a UTI now no one wants to reassess her. Am I wrong in thinking it was the UTI and not the dementia that made her go crazy for a few weeks before it was gone? My dad has stuck her in an old folks home wher she is absolutely MISERABLE. she’s only 67

      • david

        I would insist she receives a reassessment. ASAP. Good luck.

  • Cheryl Prati

    My mothers 85 yr old. Boyfriend was diagnosed with dementia almost a year ago.
    He was falling a couple of times a week and having a hard time processing certain conversations.
    Woke up one morning with an abcessed tooth. He was lost mentally. Went to the hospital. The abcess was drained during a surgical procedure. They incerted a catheter. He pulled it out and ended up with a UTI.
    During the 9 days in the hospital, he thought that he was living in an army tank. Some days a cardboard box. It was horrible.
    From what I have witnessed in a nursing home enviornment, for many years , is that stroke patients, dementia and tramatic brain injury patients experience terrible confusion with most infections. If not all.
    People that come in for rehab with broken hips etc., Dont experience mental issues, unless they have some kind of insult to the brain to begin with.
    It is very sad and hard to see this delusional behavior.

  • Kathy

    My 75 year old mom was in perfect mental order, rarely hospitalized and no broken bones, minimal ongoing medication- She got in car wreck, was hospitalized with broken ribs, broken forearm, concussion. She was released from hospital and two days later, had horrible hallucinations, saying people were by her, little girls whispering to her, hanging from fans, my brother in a car wreck (not), she tore her splint off from her broken arm, couldnt sleep for days, nonstop talking….We got her to emergency and she is now in the hospital being treated for a UTI- It is 2 full days from the first dose, and while not yet out of the woods, I saw a little glimpse of my mom today. I truly believe the medical teams should warn about UTI’s with older people, much more than they do. Frankly it has been the most scariest situation and one that I would not wish on anyone..

    • Carolyn

      Kathy, oh my God, does your story hit home. My sister who is nearly 80, was in a car accident also. She was living at home managing her own affairs, making quilts for her family, gardening and driving. Living in the country. The car accident resulted in broken ribs, sternum, neck fractures, pelvic fracture and concussion. Her mental state was good after the wreck considering all. About a week into the hospital stay and delirium and paranoia set in. UTI hit and once that got taken care of she good again. She is now at a rehab facility for physical therapy and a UTI has raised its ugly head again and she is in a worse state than the first time. Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me hope that this can be temporary when the infection is treated. I had never heard of such a thing before now. Like you it has scared me beyond all reason. I don’t feel alone now. I hope your mom is well.

      • Krisssy

        The UTI’s usually occur after a hospital stay or any time a catheter is used, a couple day’s later bacteria invades and UTIs occur

  • David Flood

    My mum was in her mid eighties when she started to feel confused and dizzy and took to bed. Mum said that she felt that she was done for. I was really concerned and called out the doctor. He diagnosed her as having a UTI and prescribed a course of antibiotics. Within a day of treatment mum had responded and was back to her normal self. I was truly amazed that a UTI could have such a sudden, adverse effect on someone’s mental capacity. We were eternally grateful to Dr Happs for his accurate diagnosis. David from Chester

  • Calendula

    6-8 glasses of water?! Shower daily?! ? Anyone who has cared for a dementia patient knows how bloody likely that is!
    You can coax, encourage, remind, scold, plead…..and you get “In a minute” “after this program” “maybe tomorrow” “i WILL!” Etc.
    You can do everything you CAN, but you can’t do any more.

    • Phil Lesh Fan

      Your post brought a wry smile to my face. I’m probably not the only caregiver who shares your sentiments.
      And thank you for your last line. I’ve just recently surrendered to the reality that I am not Superman.


    • Fotis Mitsopoulos

      Very true!!! it takes a good 30mins to get the lady I am carer to, just to get her undressed to shower and I have experienced all the same replies from her. I have now come to the stage that I have to use for forceful persuasion as its no use trying to explain risk of UTI’s to her. Once she’s in the shower and getting washed she’s fine with it.

      • disqus_efwVnveIQ9

        I wonder if it’s easier in Europe where they have bidettes

    • Christiane Seamans

      So true. We have to almost force my mom to drink..or eat..or shower. She is NEVER thirsty and even when told she is dehydrating, it doesn’t register.

  • RachelPoo

    OTC UTI treatment are some of the most important things to remember when you get older. My grandmother had dementia and while the family was concentrated on this more than anything, She got a really bad UTI and could really be at the hospital because it was a real problem with the dementia. I mean, we of course still went, but it was really hard on her. So I decided to look for ways to make sure that didn’t happen again for her. I came across this preventive solution that make sure she never had a UTI again. I mean, for most people might not think that getting antibiotics would be that hard, but for my grandma, it was a real issue. Now, she takes a tablespoon of this product from Cystex and never has a problem moving forward. A bottle costs about 12 dollars sand it last for over 2 and a half weeks. I recommend this for anyone who grandma is in a nursing home or can’t get out of the house due to things like dementia. Good luck to everyone.

    • George patterson

      What is the name of the product

      • david

        Cystex. Tablets or liquid form.

  • Theresa colonna

    My mother is 81 years old She lives in a long term facility , The facility that she is in does not like to do urinary track infection test ,They actually told me that the patient has to complaint of pain and they have to see signs of fever In order to do A UTI TEST ON HER.
    I know that she gets a UTI At least once a month Asking for help what could I do I am new at this? Last night The nurse calls me at 12:30 a.m. and tells me that she took a fall I ask the nurse what time did the fall happen she told me 6:30 p.m. And she kept on going on that my mother was agitated and combative And they had new admissions that came in and lots of visitors so they put her in her Room When they went to check up on her they found her on the floor she tore the bed apart all the draws were open Took them a while to pick her up off the floor So my other question is how could a bed ridden will chair bound 81 years old Fall off a will chair ? I keep telling them that my mother most likely has a UTI Their response is we don’t want to get your mother imuen to the antibiotics there is a thing called superbug Meaning your mother will start resisting antibiotics they keep telling me .So my question is how are you supposed to fight the infection ? Any one with answers Please help .

  • BOTU

    What came first, the chicken or the egg? It has been shown that Lyme disease can cross the brain/blood barrier. I think the UTI’s came first, not treated or not thoroughly ‘cured’ and got into the blood stream. They don’t check the blood for infection, just the urine. Perhaps they should do a blood screening as well as a urinalysis.
    Women in particular are prone to bladder leaks. I feel adult diapers only encourage UTI’s. They are relatively expensive, so rather than change them out, unless they are totally saturated, they may be put back on, soiled and exposed to air, encouraging bacteria to grow. Pads, on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive, so even slightly soiled, it is cheaper to replace them. And there are a wide variety of pads with different thicknesses to handle most leaking situations.

  • Candi Flores

    Anyone who has suffered from recurrent urinary tract infections recognizes the symptoms. When I get the first signs of the UTI, I take the Lady Soma Cranberry Concentrate and it nips it in the bud and provides relief. It contains methenamine, a substance that arrests the growth of bacteria in urine, and sodium salicylate, a mild analgesic. I take them like they say on the package and these pills work quickly providing much needed relief from the burning and pain of a UTI.

  • Lynne Mortimer Koontz

    My mom is a very lucid 96 year old, still living alone, but she is prone to UTIs, which become apparent in a very obvious way. She goes totally nuts. She imagines she has been in a train wreck, or doesn’t recognize her apartment or how to get into the bathroom in her apartment. Once she has been treated for the UTI, she is completely fine and lucid again. As soon as she starts to exhibit this kind of confusion, we know what we have to do.

  • Jen

    Keep in mind this happened to me and I’m 27 years old. It’s not just the elderly and the fact that there are so few of us out there who’ve experienced this. This is the only page I could find about it and it’s for elderly patients with dementia. Oy vey

  • deb

    My dad has been diagnosed with intermittent vascular psychotic dementia and he has all of the above happening – right now as a matter of fact. They have him on anti-psychotic drugs, etc & he has stopped hallucinating until now – another UTI & they took him to urgent care because they couldn’t get in to dr appt. They gave him antibiotics but he has gotten worse. I sent my sister (where my parents live) this article & told her he must have the wrong antibiotic because he’s getting worse, not better. Thanks for writing this – my daughter’s mother in law had full blown alzheimers so she told me to look this up because she remembered Nora getting a lot of UTIs but couldn’t remember the exact connection the dr told them about.
    Thanks again!

  • Maxwell

    My mom is 106 now and still at home. She never had UTI’s when she was younger; (before around 102). Imagine ? However, she started getting them after that already very old age.She has no dementia and can still walk with the aid of her walker around the house.Her doctor said her immune system is much weaker now and UTI’s are quite common in the elderly, for many reasons.

  • Penny Link

    my mother started with Dementia and we decided to place her in a home she was there maybe a month and we noticed her Urine was bad and very cloudy .. we brought it to the attention of the home on several occasions and they did nothing I finally demanded a UTI be done and the home did it but by then it was too late my mother was moved to Hospice intake unit to get antibiotics in her but after several days she would spit the pills out and was uncontrollable and screaming out deliriously they took her off all her other meds in a few more days and sedated her and then started giving her morphine and she died .. I blame the home for not taking care of the UTI for over a month

    • david

      Sorry for your loss. Did you seek a lawyer? The facility should be held responsible for Neglect resulting in death.

  • kenwgood

    My Mother was in a car accident on August 1, 2018. My Dad was killed and Mom suffered multiple fractures of her spine and is a paraplegic. Mom was at a rehab facility and was getting some feeling back in her legs. She transistioned to a skilled nursing facility and continued her therapy until she got a UTI with three different infection strains. She was in the hospital for two weeks. She returned to the nursing home and now a week later started having confusion again on Friday. It resolved later in the day. All day yesterday she was confused and today it was the worst it has ever been. But her urine is clear and so far there is no sign of a new UTI. But the confusion screams UTI to me. I never heard of a UTI causing confusion until I have not had to live it with Mom. Very scary.

  • Charles mclaughlin


  • Charles mclaughlin

    My mother has dementia which is exasperated by constant UTI’s. For years. We have aides that take care of her keeping
    Her clean,. No matter what we do, she is always getting UTI’s and we constantly bring her to the infectious disease office in Boynton Beach for intervenous treatment. I am afraid that soon the treatment will stop working and the invention will kill her. We will do anything to fix this situation Foes anyone have any suggestions? We are desperate

  • heartbroken

    thankyou for your storys i thought i was going mad as i new my mum wasnt suffering from dementia her urine infection made her somebody insane this is painful as she died 3days ago she was only 62 doctors seen the infection had spread into her blood an they did nothing or changed her antibiotics that clearly wasnt working within the 2weeks of takin them they let her die as if she was nothing she was my everything xxx

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