The Danger of UTIs in Our Aging Loved Ones

3 min read

hospital UTI

This is a guest post written by a Uqora customer. Out of respect for her family, she'd like to remain anonymous.


Empowerment isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you have a terminally ill loved one. When tragedy strikes, and someone important to you is sick or injured, along with the inevitable fear and shock comes a feeling of helplessness. What most of us want when death closes in on someone is to feel helpful, useful, we want to do something. We just can’t help ourselves. Even though there are often teams of doctors and nurses working to keep our loved one alive, we cling to our instinct to protect those we care for most.


A 5-hour drive to see my dying grandmother in a long-term care facility over 8 years ago put me firmly in touch with these emotions for the first time. Dimmed lights and quiet hallways led me to her room where she rested late that evening. I sat by her bedside, making small talk to the woman I loved dearly. She’d lost a significant portion of her mental capacity to a major stroke, but that was not the final log in her medical records. She was also suffering from other minor infections, including recurrent catheter-associated UTIs (CAUTIs), which are typically more severe.


CAUTIs are the second-most common type of infection in long-term care facilities. Unbelievably, they constitute 30-50% of antibiotic use in these types of care centers. Patients are commonly kept on antibiotics even when asymptomatic. Research has yet to definitively prove the efficacy of this prevention system, but it is the most common protocol for patients at risk for this type of recurrent infection. Medical protocol for preventing UTIs in long-term care patients is often the same as the protocol for curing them.


The danger of antibiotic resistance is well championed, but other risks of frequent antibiotic use in the elderly are often overlooked, or just not spoken about — like vaginal imbalances causing yeast infections, and masking other infections. Like the rest of us who have faced recurring UTIs, our aging loved ones are finding themselves relying on life-saving drugs to prevent and treat their UTIs.


Even among the beeping and whirring of machines, the last bedside moments with my dying grandmother invoked tons of positive memories we shared. Memories of holidays, laughs and the time we ditched grandparent’s day to go shopping instead; they all came flooding back. We shared a lot. But there is an experience I wish we didn’t share - the experience of UTIs. Because if I know anything, it’s that having one is anything but a restful, healing experience. She lived a beautiful and rich life. She was strong — a fighter who had always advocated on my behalf. But I look back knowing what I know now, and I wonder if there was something I could have done to fight for her, and her comfort.


Without a doubt, the doctors and nurses who cared for my ailing grandmother were caring and committed professionals. They used the tools in their toolbox to provide her with excellent care. But what if they had more tools? Could even a small portion of her suffering have been lessened? It seems paramount that in our world of growing concerns around antibiotic use, we find new solutions. We must question the conventional treatments for preventable infections such as UTIs. We must question, and then we must innovate, because our current solutions are imperfect.


Products from companies like Uqora are doing exactly this. They are putting a small amount of power back into the hands of caretakers and loved ones and patients by offering safe, and effective natural OTC products for UTI prevention. To date, over 2,500 people have rated their Uqora experience as exceptional, and that number grows daily. It is momentum and ideas like this that helps me maintain hope in a world that can often feel full of loss and suffering.


Years ago, a friend shared his definition of the concept of “empowerment” with me. He said, “True empowerment is the willingness to suffer for something.” Maybe in some contexts this statement holds true, my dear friend. But when it comes to the health of our urinary tracts, I say that empowerment is having options, and choice. It means solutions that can relieve suffering that so many women, like myself; like my grandmother, have experienced.


The world that said goodbye to my grandma didn’t have Uqora, but my world today does, and I am so thankful to this company that is offering real and effective solutions to an often quieted, yet pervasive problem in this world.


If you've had a loved one struggle with UTIs in long-term care, we'd love to hear from you. Share your experience in the comments below or email us at support@uqora.com.


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