How to watch the person with Alzheimer’s so you can see the early symptoms of UTI. The hardest part can be getting them to let you watch them. It may not be easy especially if they don’t want you to and won’t cooperate. You may need to take extraordinary measures to accomplish this. The reason you need to watch is you want to catch this early and the earlier the better.
Watching them may be your only option to detect a Urinary Track Infection quickly. Hopefully before it gets to the point they can’t pee at all. Sometimes a Urinary Track Infection can escalate quick. You watch them pee and no symptoms. Then a few hours later they can’t pee at all and they show all the symptoms. Usually you can see subtle indications that a UTI is just beginning.
Alzheimer’s eventually shuts down the ability to communicate and they can’t find the words they want. When they can’t tell you there is a problem you need to watch. They slowly lose the ability to talk and answer questions. A person with Alzheimer’s may be able to answer you but they may choose to give you the answer they think you want. Not the real answer.
They may not understand what your asking but say they do. If you ask them something important like about pain try to get more than a – Yes I do – answer. Ask them what your were asking. This will expose whether they really understand or just say they do. Some how they are very good at giving short responses that even seem appropriate to the question. Try to ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer.
When an Alzheimer’s patient forgets the right words to use they will make up their own. They may just substitute a couple of words in a sentence with repeated sounds. Everything they say may be made up of sounds that make no sense to you. They may not feel the pain all the time or don’t know what it is, where it is or be able show you. The only thing left is diagnosis by observation.
Here are some tips to help you watch the person with Alzheimer’s for signs of a UTI. Try to watch them without them knowing it. If a person with Alzheimer’s thinks your watching to catch them doing something they will alter their behavior.
The person may be uncomfortable with you in the bathroom while they are peeing. Act as if your there for something other than watching them. Straighten the towels or act like your cleaning the sink or wash your hands. Act like this is a regular occurrence.
If they look at you like what are you in here when I’m trying to pee. Say something along the lines of – Does me being here bother you? Why does it bother you? You were in here with me the last time I had to pee. Or why are you upset? I gave you a bath earlier and you had all you clothes off and I washed you. You liked that. Do you remember when you gave me a bath?
The trick isn’t what you say it’s how you say it. They may not understand what you say. What’s more important is the tone of your voice, your facial expressions and body language. Try to project a happy, Kind, friendly image. People with Alzheimer’s rely heavily the tone of your voice and body language.
If all else fails – spy on them.
If they insist on being in the bathroom alone and lock the door you have 2 options. Change the door knobs to a set with out a lock button or take the door off. Also, most knobs have a small hole in the center. You can stick something in there and the lock will release.
If you need to pop the lock like this make sure you get something that works before you need it. These are easy to lose so have more than one handy. You can use a piece of coat hanger wire or cut the tip off a Q-tip and that should fit.
If you decide to remove the door until you get a new door knob set or take the door off permanently. Wait until they are done and leave the bathroom. The next time they use the bath room they won’t even notice it’s missing. If they do just say it had to be sent out to be fixed.
Removing the door. You can usually take the hinge pins out. They may be loose enough to just pull up and out. I not you may need to put a screw driver under the head of the pin and tap the handle of the screw diver with a hammer. Removing the pin is quick when you need quick but unscrew the hinge from the door frame if the door needs to stay off.
If it does come down to removing the door. I recommend unscrewing the hinge from the door frame. If you just remove the hinge pin, half of the hinge is still sticking out from the frame. If they would fall and hit that part of the hinge it could cause a serious injury.
You can replace the door with a curtain. That will give some privacy if needed. Besides watching to see what’s going one there’s another good reason to do this. If the door opens into the bathroom and they fall down they make block the door from opening. If they are on the floor and injured the last thing you want is to push the door against them to get in. They shouldn’t be in the bath room alone but things happen.
You may think the person with Alzheimer’s disease has trouble getting around. Or think they can’t move fast by watching the way they normally move through the house. Don’t under estimate the speed some elderly people can move. They will astound you. Take my word on it or you’ll be saying – I can’t believe how fast they moved.
When you’re the caregiver you need to imagine the worst that could possibly happen and take precautions. If you don’t the worse will happen.
You need to take charge and be the boss and at the same time make them feel like it’s what they want to do. They have very little they can control and they try to hold on to any control they think they have. Even if in reality they don’t.
Oh, and by the way, you as the caretaker have very little control over what happens, so just accept it. Learn to go with the flow. You can’t depend on anything working out to a schedule. When you are a caretaker dealing with Alzheimer’s you need to live in the moment just as they do.
When I first started I know I thought I could do everything by a schedule. It’s time to do this. It’s time to do that. You end up exhausted trying to get the person with Alzheimer’s to conform and you’re racing the clock. It’s like fighting a battle on two flanks. Once I became flexible, gave up letting the clock rule, stopped trying to control the uncontrolable, it became easier. Relax.