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Jeckyll & Hyde with infections .. Why ?????????????


Registered User
Jun 4, 2012
What keeps happening to my gentle mum?? Mum used to such a quiet person... a real lady, but, she keeps on getting infections, chest and urine and its like she becomes a different person and is so unmanageable, abusive and aggressive. Does anyone know why people with dementia get so many infections that completely knock them off their feet and make the dementia increase? Thanks for any response. :confused:

Lady in blue

Registered User
Mar 6, 2015
It's very common for infections in the elderly to cause confusion - and not just in those with AD. I guess it's to do with the toxins caused by the infection that tip older people over into confusion.
If urinary tract infection are a reoccurring problem it may be possible for her GP to allow her to have a supply of antibiotics at home to be given as soon as any signs of infection start and before the increased confusion becomes too bad.


Registered User
Jun 6, 2011
Possibly the infection is systemic, throughout the body but most easily detected in a urine sample.

The same bacteria or virus or yeast (like candida) is in the bladder and in the brain.

Those amyloid plaques that form in the brains of people with Alzheimer's have been found to be antimicrobial and there is speculation that they are part of the body's immune system. Here is one of many articles on that -


You'll see they mentioned yeast. Yeast in the bladder will present as an infection. The yeast could also be in the brain. It's known that giving antibiotics kills all the bacteria in your body including the ones that you need, to keep yeasts in check. So repeated infections and antibiotics will make matters worse.

There are powerful antibiotics in food, like garlic, and quite a few herbs and spices that you can google - thyme, oregano, cinnamon, ginger....

If you are not used to eating garlic, you may find you get 'brain fog' or sleepiness afterwards if you had any yeast in your brain, as the yeast dies. But after that, your mind is clearer and can be kept clear with regular garlic. Maybe that's worth trying. Chopped finely, it can be hidden in many foods. You can also add probiotic yoghurts which may also help.


Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
When my husband gets anything , even a slight cold, one of the first thing I notice is how he is unable to do things which he can when he is well. Everything from getting to standing from a chair to swallowing medication is affected.
I always think that because of the dementia his brain power is limited anyway and when he is using up his reserves by fighting the infection this limits the remaining capacity for normal life.
I always think it is abit like the computer running slow when it is doing an update.
This is just my way of thinking and has no medical basis but I do find it helps me to cope and have positive feelings that things will be easier when the infection has gone.

Ann Mac

Registered User
Oct 17, 2013
What keeps happening to my gentle mum?? Mum used to such a quiet person... a real lady, but, she keeps on getting infections, chest and urine and its like she becomes a different person and is so unmanageable, abusive and aggressive. Does anyone know why people with dementia get so many infections that completely knock them off their feet and make the dementia increase? Thanks for any response. :confused:
We had a long period of time where it seemed like my Mil (Mum in law) never had more than a week or two clear of UTI's, and the impact on her behaviour (not the best anyay) was awful. The bacteria causing the repeted infections was identified as e coli - apparently very common in the gut of older people, and the reason why it kept flaring up in Mil was simply down to poor toilet hygeine - she wasn't washing her hands properly after using the loo :( However, she has now been free of UTI's for several months, and I think its down to two things. One, she is now on a maintenence low dose of antibiotics, taken every day, and two, we now spend a small fortune on anti bacterial hand gels, have them dotted all over the house, in the car, in my bags and in her handbag, and we are fanatical about making her use it. Every time she goes to the loo, every time before she eats, every time she comes through the door from day care or wherever else she may have been. Initially, she would often complain about being asked to use the gel, but eventually, she just accepted it.

I don't know how much this has had an impact, but several months ago we also made the difficult decision to stop Mil doing anything in the kitchen - aside from her issues with hand washing, she has also taken to wiping her nose on any available cloth (including tea towels - yuck) , and had become completely unsafe with any of the kitchen aplliances. So, she also has no contact with food prep, or the area where its done, at all.

It might be worth speaking to your Mum's GP about the long term use of a low anti biotic, and also worth finding out if its the same bacteria causing the repeated infections and if using the hand gel might also help :)

Good luck with finding a solution - it is horrendous to see what an infection can do to our loved one xxxx


Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
My Dad too suffers with chest infections and urine infections. The care staff in the home said the urine ones were very common as the elderly often don't drink enough. As he is always happy to take his medication with a glass of water, which he takes morning and evening, they introduced a placebo at lunch time (a tic tac) and he took that with a glass of water which has upped his fluid intake a little. Such great thinking from the staff.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
Repeated UTIs are often associated with dementia because people are no longer able to wipe or clean themselves properly after going to the loo, or have become incontinent. To put it bluntly, germs from the poo department are able to enter the wee department, where they cause havoc. For obvious reasons it is easier for this to happen in women than in men. Not drinking enough doesn't help, either, and people who are still aware of having 'accidents' may be reluctant to drink anyway, because they are still aware that more to drink may = more accidents.


Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
This is all rather interesting, because I swear that more or less the same time Mum was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in August 2011, she started to go down hill memory and behaviour wise.
Then after a GA in Jan 2013 for early stage bowel cancer she became worse and diagnosed with Alzheimers in July 2013.

Mum has enlarged lymph glands in her spleen, but has had no other procedures done to find the cause of her leukemia... Bone marrow/spleen etc
As she is continuously running a low grade infection, therefore my question whether it was linked?
Her GP said No. :confused:

Mum has blood tests every 3 mths. It would be interesting to know if at the times that Mum is having bad days if a blood test would show an increase in her lymphocyte counts?
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Registered User
May 5, 2015
Salford, Lancashire

Linbrusco - my Mum also has CLL (Chronic Lympohcytic Leukemia), having been diagnosed about 15 years ago. I suspect her dementia started about 2-3 years ago, and while she has declined dementia wise during that time, her CLL has remained stable so I don't suspect there is a link as such. The CLL can make Mum tired though which then makes her temporarily worse memory/confusion wise.



Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
Thanks for your reply Sally.
Mums white cell count remains stable at 30-35 & Lymphocytes at 25-29 for past 4 yrs almost.
She also gets very tired by early late afternoon, and we try ( dad tries) to get her to have an afternoon sleep. Doesn't always work. She will nod off for 10mns and thinks shes been asleep for hours, and then won't go back to bed.
Then by early evening she is tired again, and then the confusion really sets in, and what I think is probably sundowning?

She also suffers from sweats occasionally. Worse in summer of course.
Does your Mum suffer from wind, or reflux?


Registered User
May 5, 2015
Salford, Lancashire
My Mum gets tired late afternoon and has had afternoon naps (up to 2 hours) regularly for years so is part of her routine, she now dozes off in a chair at daycare. She can be really confused (for her) when she is tired, searching for words more or not knowing what she is doing (she is still early stage and more forgetful of things or people). After a nap she is back to 'usual', and it does seem to be related to how tired she is so don't think it is sundowning, and doesn't seem to fit with the descriptions of that I have seen on here which look more agitated as well as confused.

She doesn't suffer from sweats, but wind - yes!

Ann G

Registered User
Jun 4, 2015
My mother suffers for recurrent urine infections and this results in changes in her behaviour. I tackle this in 3 ways. 1. I ensure she drinks plenty of fluids and preferably water and decaf tea and have to keep on prompting her to drink a bit every hour if you can and monitor how much shes drinking. 2. i discovered after her stroke its very common to have a retentive bladder. she may be retaining urine and i advise you to ask your doctor to do a scan of her bladder and see if she is properly emptying her bladder. if not then you may have to consider a catheter. i do this up to 4 times a day and i was trained by the continence nurse to do it, its easy and preferable to a permanent catheter. 3 the doctor can prescribe low dosage antibiotics on long term. my mums is on 3 months 50mg nitrofurantoin a night and then leave off to see what happens. We did rotate with trimethoprin but shes resistant to it now. if this fails then fosfomycin is last resort, which can only be prescribed from hospital pharmacist. also if she has continence problems then you can get up to 3 pads per day from NHS but this is after you get visit from continence nurse and assessed. hope this helps.
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