There are some things you can do as Urinary Track Infection prevention. This will also include preventing bladder infections. Often the whole urinary tract becomes infected to some degree. If urine isn’t flowing toxins are not getting out of the body. Sometimes a person with a UTI will even stop having bowel movements.
I would do this for any form of Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia or Senility. The first thing is getting a person with Alzheimer’s to drink some water when they wake up. I do this because we all become dehydrated to some degree when we sleep. When you get older the brain doesn’t work as well as it can if you don’t keep hydrated. Also, this gets the kidneys working and helps flush out anything that’s in the urinary tract.
I would try to fit in a serving of cranberry juice not long after that. I do this to help cut down on the possibility of a urinary track infection. It was thought that cranberry juice killed the bacteria that cause UTI infection. I still feel that may be one of the things it does.
Now I have read that cranberry juice makes the surfaces of the urinary tract very slippery. This makes it hard for bacteria to attach to anything and they flush out easily. It doesn’t matter to me how it works. Only that it helps. I also use cranberry juice during the treatment of a UTI.
When people with Alzheimer’s go to the bathroom they don’t always wipe themselves in a proper manner. This is especially important for women. They can easily reach between their legs to wipe their bottom from back to front and smear fecal matter over their vaginal area. Women with Alzheimer’s are at higher risk for repeat urinary tract infection because of anatomy.
That’s a perfect environment for an infection to start and migrate up the urethra to the bladder and up the ureters to the kidneys. This is the most common direction for a UTI to infect them and you too. It’s a lot easier to keep a person with Alzheimer’s disease clean than treat an infection. When they develop an infection you must keep them clean more often and treat the infection.
Even if the person can clean themselves after having a bowel movement you need to make sure they are clean. It’s much easier to check than risk an infection. Once infection occurs, and it will, treatment must start as soon as possible. It’s hard on the person with Alzheimer’s and there will be extra things the caregiver must do.
Try to be there when they go to the bathroom and watch what they do. You’ll be able to know how they clean themselves and how well. Don’t make it obvious that’s why your there or they will change their behavior. Don’t act surprised or shocked or disgusted.
Just act as if everything is normal even if it isn’t. Don’t criticize or get upset with them they can’t help it. Don’t worry be happy and act that way. Keep this lighthearted and as fun as you can for them. If they get upset or scared it will effect the rest of their day and yours too.
Your mission, should you accept it, is to see what they do so you can help them the best you can. Don’t tell them they are doing it wrong or try to teach them the right way. They can’t learn so don’t expect them to learn. This is so you know what they can not do for themselves so you can do it for them.
They may do things you consider strange but you need to be aware. Like stop putting the used toilet paper in the toilet. They may stop using toilet paper and use something else like a wash cloth. They may just use their hand and wipe their hand anywhere and everywhere.
I know. I’ve experienced that first hand. If, in a split second, the blink of an eye, you find them wiping poop on you, don’t worry about it. Poop, feces, excrement etc… Whatever you want to call it washes off. It’s only poop. Expect it and lighten up. No disciplinary action allowed and no poop fights either. You may not feel like laughing about it when it happens but you will later.
They may put the used toilet paper in the trash can or in their pocket or anywhere. In their pocket is the worst. They might find it in their pocket later and use it. They may blow their nose, their eyes or wipe their face or even try to eat it. Yum. You also need to change the article of clothing they put it in.
There will come a time when you must clean them up when they go to the bathroom. This is a good time to look for any outward signs of a infection. Take this opportunity to look for scratches, swelling and rashes. Anything that isn’t normal should be checked. I find toilet time and bath time are the best times but if you suspect something check it out immediately.
It is also a good idea to get them to wash their hands regularly. Depending on which stage of Alzheimer’s or Dementia they are in it may require your help. Wash your hands at the same time and then start helping them wash their hands. Make a game of it. Have fun and laugh.
Use a soft bristled nail brush to clean around their fingernails and be gentle using it. I found that a soft bristled tooth brush worked the best. Great for under the edge of the fingernail and where the nail meets the skin. Like the side of the nail and around the cuticle.
You may need something to help clean under the nail. I discovered that a tooth pick is a good tool. It’s softer than plastic or metal and I think it works better too. The square sided ones not the round type tooth pick. I like to smooth it up and take any sharpness off of it first. I find a nail file, fine emery board or even fine sandpaper does a real nice job at preparing a tooth pick.
I think it’s important to keep fingernails trimmed short and filed smooth. They will be easier to clean and hold less dirt. If an Alzheimer’s patient gets an itch and starts to scratch they often won’t stop like you or I would. They will scratch at areas we wouldn’t scratch. OK, I know you scratch it a little but might not own up to it. Well groomed fingernails will minimize any tissue damage they can cause.
People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia like to use their fingers to explore and this can lead to an infection. If you don’t know how to quickly treat and get rid of a UTI contact a doctor immediately. Urinary Tract Infections can escalate fast, become painful and are serious.
These infections will happen no matter how careful you are. Do your best and don’t blame yourself if they get a UTI. And don’t let any lame doctor tell you it’s your fault. UTI’s happen in best hospitals and the best care facilities. An ounce of Urinary Track Infection prevention is worth a pound of Urinary Track Infection cure.