Many times, people think of epilepsy as a condition that is diagnosed when a person is young. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that older adults are at a higher risk for developing epilepsy than younger people. Of the 3 million adults in the United States who have epilepsy, 1 million are people aged 55 and older.
Why are Seniors at Higher Risk?
Older adults are more likely to get epilepsy because many of the risk factors for epilepsy are more prevalent in older adults.
Risk factors for epilepsy include:
Strokes and Heart Attacks: Strokes and heart attacks can cause damage to the brain, which may lead to seizures. In fact, strokes are the number one cause of epilepsy in older adults. Around one-third of epilepsy cases in seniors is due to stroke.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s: These conditions cause damage to the brain, which affects memory and thinking. It can also lead to seizures. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the number two cause of epilepsy in seniors.
Head Injuries: Head injuries can occur when an older adult falls.
Some other conditions that can cause epilepsy in seniors are:
- Brain tumors.
- Kidney and liver diseases.
- Heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Epilepsy?
The symptoms of epilepsy in seniors are much the same as those that occur in younger adults. However, epilepsy is sometimes missed in older adults because the symptoms are sometimes thought to be just a part of aging.
Some symptoms of epilepsy are:
- Memory problems, like going blank for a bit and not remembering the last couple of minutes.
- Being confused or feeling out of place in an area they know well.
- Visual or auditory hallucinations.
- Repetitive Behaviors.
- Mumbling to themselves.
- Temporary language problems.
How Can Seizures Be Prevented?
Controlling epilepsy and preventing seizures can be problematic for older adults. It generally requires taking medications at the same time each day. This can be difficult for seniors who may have trouble remembering to take them or who are also taking medications for other conditions. It can be a lot to organize and keep track of.
Elder care providers can be an important part of assisting seniors to manage epilepsy. An elder care provider can remind them when it is time to take medicine. They can also monitor the person to ensure they take the correct dosage. Even with medicine, seizures may occasionally happen. Having an elder care provider with them can keep seniors safe since the elder care provider can make sure they don’t injure themselves during a seizure.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Alpharetta, GA, please contact the friendly staff at Certified Home Care of Georgia. Call today 770-635-8042