A person with Alzheimer’s may hide the fact they are having Urinary Track Infection symptoms. Urinary Track Infection is often abbreviated as UTI. I always tried to be close by when mom went to the bathroom. By watching how things go you can see a problem they won’t or don’t know how to tell you about. You may see them holding their bladder area or exhibit a rocking motion while sitting on the toilet.
They may express discomfort with facial expressions or even verbally. If you are not there you can not see these signs when they first start. If the person did not have Alzheimer’s they would be able to say they are having a problem long before this degree of infection. Because of the nature of Alzheimer’s they may not openly exhibit symptoms until the are on the toilet trying to urinate. You must learn the symptoms.
Making sounds or being verbal in their own way. This may be as simple as a moaning or repetitive sounds like oh-oh-oh-oh or no-no-no-no. They will often use the same sounds and or movements if a second infection occurs. It’s important for you to learn what the person you are taking care of does when an infection starts.
You should look for frequent return visits to the bathroom. When you are with them you can listen and hear if the urine is flowing freely in a normal fashion. You should be able to hear if they are peeing abnormally. Just a little or in spurts. Like they push some out, then rest, then push some out.
If you are going to be a caregiver your duties will include monitoring bathroom activities. From using the toilet to bathing and everything in between. You become a specialist of bowel movements, urinating, personal hygiene and safety. You will see, smell and clean up things you never thought you would have to clean up.
It may be difficult at first but you’ll get the hang of it. It all becomes boring and routine. Nothing will shock you. You may even find yourself breaking out in laughter at inappropriate situations. I often do. It’s a good way to relieve tension.
A UTI can come on very fast so it is important that you learn the early warning signs. Once it starts it can escalate to the point where no urine will be able to flow. If this has ever happened to you I know you understand how bad this feels. With Alzheimer’s a person may not feel the pain all the time or understand what they are feeling. They may even think you or someone else is causing it.
The sooner you detect a UTI and get started on a treatment the better. Although I talk about these symptoms happening on the toilet look for them everywhere. They may be sitting in a chair and you notice them placing their hands over their lower abdomen.
If they normally don’t do that watch for a while and see if it continues and if there are any other UTI symptoms. See if anyone else is sitting like because they may be copying them. It may be nothing more than a brief change in behavior.
Ask them if they feel any pain or discomfort. They may not tell you even if they can. Alzheimer’s patients can become very suspicious and guarded with what they tell you. For some reason people with Alzheimer’s disease often hide this type of thing. That’s why you really need to watch them in a way they aren’t aware your doing it.
Don’t wait until it gets really bad if you recognize the signs. After the first infection you will probably connect certain little things you saw but dismissed. Each time there is an infection you will begin to recognize it earlier. If you’re just starting as caregiver don’t wait to see if something you suspect is real. Call a doctor and they will be able to help you decide.