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Are Seniors at Risk for Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures because of problems with the central nervous system. You may be surprised to learn that getting older is one of the risk factors for epilepsy. Seniors are at higher risk for epilepsy because of conditions that damage the brain, like strokes.


General Information About Epilepsy

Elderly Care Des Plaines, IL: Risk of Epilepsy

How a seizure looks can vary. They aren’t all the dramatic seizures you see on television where the body jerks violently. Some seizures can simply cause your older family member to stare off into space for a moment. You should be aware that having a single seizure does not necessarily mean the senior has epilepsy. A minimum of two seizures are required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

Seizures happen when the nerve cells and brain cells can’t communicate effectively because of abnormal activity in the brain. There are two main kinds of seizures: focal seizures and generalized seizures. Focal seizures happen because of abnormalities in a single part of the brain. Generalized seizures are the result of mis-firings all over the brain.


Risk Factors for Epilepsy
There are many things that raise the chances of an older adult getting epilepsy. In addition to age, some risk factors for epilepsy are:
• Family History: If someone else in the senior’s family has had epilepsy, they have a greater chance of getting the disorder, too.
• Head Injuries: Experiencing a head injury, such as one sustained in a car accident or fall, can lead to epilepsy.
• Stroke: Damage to the brain because of a stroke may result in epilepsy.
• Brain Infections: A brain infection, like meningitis, can trigger epilepsy.


Epilepsy Complications
Epilepsy can be dangerous because suffering a seizure at the wrong time could cause an injury or even death. People with epilepsy can drown if they have a seizure while in the bathtub or while swimming. They can also fall and break a bone or hit their head. Driving with epilepsy can be dangerous because it can lead to a car accident.

If your aging relative has epilepsy, elderly care can reduce the chances of them getting injured during a seizure. An elderly care provider can get them to a safe place if there are signs of the seizure before it happens. If the older adult does fall, an elderly care provider can offer first aid or call for emergency assistance if there is a serious injury. Elderly care providers can also help to manage epilepsy by reminding the senior when it is time to take medications used to lessen symptoms and prevent seizures.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care in Des Plaines, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.



Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro, founder of Companion Services of America, LLC received a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. Jamie started her career in psychiatric social work at Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry. Later, she went on to become the Director of Social Services at Belmont Community Hospital where she developed discharge planning procedures to assist staff in identifying potential patients requiring intervention.