The other day I read an article about an old lady and her swift decline into becoming another statistic – bedblocking in her local hospital. It was a sorry tale about a lonely, frightened old woman and her experience was completely unnecessary.
As she became increasingly frail so she became more frightened of falling over alone in her home. To avoid falling particularly in the night, she drank less and less during the day so she was less likely to need to go to the loo once she’d gone to bed. She also stopped going out as much to limit falling over, so she wasn’t shopping for fresh – or indeed much – food on a regular basis.
The net result of this was that whilst she didn’t fall over so much, she became severely dehydrated, and her immune system started to pack up with her absence of a proper diet. A neighbour finally found her completely delirious on the floor in her home having fallen over. She was taken to hospital where her diagnosis was a severe urinary tract infection (UTI), brought on directly by the dehydration and a low immune system.
She spent a week or two in bed in hospital, which rendered her even more physically unfit than before she arrived, and with no-one to help her at home, had to wait until a suitable care solution was found before she could be discharged from hospital.
This made me so sad to read. The lady in the article might have avoided so much of her resulting ill health if she had felt able to drink more during the day, and eat more healthily. It seems so sad that the price of being alone is a feeling you can’t go for a pee in the night in your own home for fear of falling over.
We have more information on UTIs, the symptoms and how to help elderly people avoid them in our article UTIs
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