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  • Kathryn Watson

Elderly UTI- What You Need To Know

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Elderly UTI

You may or may not have heard of an elderly UTI, short for urinary tract infection. Here is what you need to know about older folks and urinary tract infections. Commonly called a UTI, these infections may react differently in the elderly. And urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in older adults. They can be hard to diagnose, but there are some clues that can help point to the source of the infection.

Here are the questions we'll answer about symptoms of urinary tract infections in the elderly:

1. Elderly UTI- What are the symptoms?

2. How Often Do Older Adults Get UTIs?

3. Elderly UTI- What are the causes?

4. Elderly UTI treatment options

5. What Should I Do if I Think My Elderly Parent has a UTI?

What Are the Symptoms of a UTI in the Elderly?

The most common symptoms of a UTI in older adults are a pain in the lower back and flank, burning when passing urine, frequent urge to pass urine and cloudy or foul-smelling urine. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

But an elderly person with a urinary tract infection may not experience any of the above symptoms. Additionally, if they have dementia they may not be able to tell you their symptoms. The only symptom you may notice is a sudden change in behavior. Behavior that is out of the ordinary for this individual should always be examined.

Beware of a Sudden Change in Behavior

One of the first signs dementia care providers look for is a sudden change in behavior.

1: Sudden outbursts of anger or irritability

2: Uncharacteristically withdrawn or isolated

3: Unexplained changes in sleeping or eating habits

4: Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable

5: Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches

6: Anxiety and agitation

7: Excessive risk-taking behavior

Yes, that sweet little old lady may suddenly start cursing like a sailor.

How Often Do Older Adults Get UTIs?

The rate of UTIs in older adults is higher than in younger adults. One study found that 10% of older women and 9% of older men have a UTI at least once during their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common and potentially serious infections in long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, residents of these facilities are at a higher risk of developing UTIs due to their weakened immune systems and other factors.

Studies have shown that the rate of UTIs in long-term care facilities is far too high, with up to 40% of residents experiencing one or more UTIs during their stay. This is a significant issue that needs to be addressed in order to protect the health and safety of these vulnerable individuals. It is important to understand the causes of UTIs in long-term care facilities and take preventative measures to reduce their rate.

Potential risk factors for UTIs include inadequate hydration, poor hygiene, urinary incontinence, and the use of catheters. Additionally, it is important for facilities to provide regular monitoring of residents' health and provide early diagnosis and treatment of any signs or symptoms of UTI. By taking these steps, long-term care facilities can help to reduce the rate of UTI in their residents and ensure that they receive the best care possible.

One Reason Why Smaller May Be Better

Elderly UTI Caught Early at LHMC
The Light Heart Family

Smaller residential care homes have a higher staff-to-resident ratio. This can help to make sure these risk factors are addressed. They are able to make sure everyone stays hydrated and goes to the bathroom regularly. And if someone does get a UTI in one of these homes it is usually caught early.

What Causes UTIs in the Elderly?

There are many causes of UTIs in elderly patients, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder infections, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other medical conditions.

UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra. Bacteria can enter the urinary tract from any source, including the environment, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and other body sites.

Bladder infections are another common cause of UTIs in the elderly. Bladder infections are caused when bacteria get into the bladder through the urethra or vagina. And this is very common in elderly women.

What Are the Treatment Options for UTIs in the Elderly?

The treatment options for UTIs in elderly patients vary depending on the cause of the infection and the individual’s health status. Antibiotics are usually used to treat bacterial UTIs, while antifungal medications are used to treat fungal UTIs.

Natural Remedies to Lower Risk of UTI:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common but uncomfortable condition. While antibiotics are the most common treatment, there are also several effective and natural remedies you can use to lower your risk of developing a UTI.

Watermelon can prevent Elderly UTI
Watermelon and Bingo at Light Heart Memory Care

Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting a UTI. Water helps flush out bacteria from your urinary tract, keeping it clean and reducing the chances of infection.

Watermelon and other fruits will also help get more fluids in the elderly. Cranberry juice is also a great option, as its high acidity helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder and urinary tract.

Eating yogurt is another great way to reduce your risk of UTI, as it contains probiotics that help maintain healthy bacteria levels in your body. Finally, avoiding caffeine and alcohol can help reduce your chances of developing a UTI, as these substances can irritate the bladder and increase the risk of infection. By implementing these natural remedies into your lifestyle, you can help keep your urinary tract healthy and reduce your risk of UTI.

What Should I Do if I Think My Elderly Parent has a UTI?

If you think you have a UTI, see your doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Make sure that a culture is run on the sample to ensure a proper diagnosis. It is important that all of the antibiotics are taken as prescribed. Follow up with the doctor to make sure the urine is clear of all infections.


We hope this information helps you recognize the symptoms of a urinary tract infection in elderly patients and know what to do if you suspect one. Remember that no one is immune to urinary tract infections, so don’t ignore any unusual or persistent symptoms.

If you think your loved one may be experiencing either of these conditions, it's important to get them checked out.

In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"

Light Heart Memory Care homes are specially designed for 8 residents. This gives us the ability to give personalized care to each and every resident.

Contact us to learn more about Light Heart Memory Care, or book a free consultation.

Phone: 281.282.0770 Email:

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