By Di Patterson, March 7, 2023

A senior with abdominal pain caused by UTI

We cannot underestimate the need for better hygiene in older age. You see, our cells start to shrink at certain ages for both men and women. Men are at their most vital, physically strongest age at 18 and women begin peaking in their early 30s then become premenopausal many times by age 37. Yes, our cell structure is very slowly-but-surely shrinking at these young ages! At some moment in our older age, major changes will look like sudden events. But they are not.

Let me introduce the concept of UTI: the urinary tract infection. UTIs are the slippery slope into morass (a complicated or confused situation) in much-older adults and sometimes death in the very-elderly. UTIs “mask” as sudden onset dementia or as a stroke. That’s worth repeating: UTIs mask as stroke or sudden onset dementia.

Those unfortunate enough to contract UTI, usually over the space of just a few hours will classically: fall down and not be able to get up or speak coherently (yes, 3 hours can change the course of your much-older adult’s life for many months!).

This is because UTI dehydrates your beloved senior so quickly that their already-shrunken cells cannot recover on their own. They must be intravenously infused with both hydrating solution and antibiotics, spend several days in the hospital, then be transferred to nursing care to learn to walk again. Atrophy (muscle and tissue wasting as a result of degradation of cells due to under-use) usually happens within 3 days or less with bedridden much-older adults. That’s mind-boggling to younger adults, but so true in our elderly.

To this end, I felt it was utterly important to teach this concept, so I trademarked: SocksB4Briefs™. Since emotional connection is a necessity before our brains give permission to cognitive acceptance, hilarity and laughter (Admit it, SocksB4Briefs™ is pretty funny!) is a sure way for people to remember and lock-in truth. The truth is, our floors are full of dust, migrating dirt, insect droppings, old food, cat and dog fur, and other refuse from creeping things in the night you don’t really want to know about.

Therefore, when you exit the bath or shower and dry your feet, if you put on your socks (without touching the floor after) and immediately pull up your briefs, you’ll avoid all of the aforementioned items’ germs going from your feet into your crotch, up your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder) and back up further into your urinary tract. (If you don’t believe me, observe yourself the next time you pull up your panties. My guess is you graze the crouch with at least your heels, if not your toes or your full foot. Viola!)

My last recommendation on hygiene is the incorporation of cleansing wipes into every senior’s daily regimen. The “insults of old age” do surely extend to bathroom habits. Flushable wipes or water-based wipes are pretty easy to stock up on. I do encourage this important item on your and your senior’s shopping list.

The second half of preventing UTI is sufficient hydration. The FDA has stuck with their recommendation of 8 glasses (8 oz. each) of water a day since I was a child. I doubt this will change. Coffee, tea, juice, wine, beer or spirits of any kind do not count towards 8 glasses of daily H2O. Water is water. And by the way, as our age increases, our need to drink 2 glasses of water after each cup of coffee, tea, juice, wine, beer or spirits of any kind increases, too. Up your game!

Hygiene and hydration will save you and your much-older senior lots of grief, cost, and family strain. Trying to work any job with UTI is much more difficult; trying to enjoy life with UTI is almost impossible. Your much-older senior trying to survive UTI is worth working hard now. Let’s all avoid a future with UTI!

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! ~~SocksB4Briefs™!~~ Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

©Di Patterson, CPG: “No one WANTS to age, but EVERYONE wants to AGE WELL!”

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