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Three Steps to Take That Might Improve Safety for a Senior with Epilepsy

Senior Home Safety

Senior Home Safety

Epilepsy can be difficult to deal with, especially if it develops later in life. A person who was normally healthy and had no issues like this in the past may struggle to try and cope with this new reality. For seniors, epilepsy can create just as many safety concerns as it does for younger adults, especially those who may be stronger and more durable to falls.

There are steps that can be taken to improve safety for seniors who are dealing with epilepsy. Below, we highlight three that may be beneficial.

Step #1: Have people who know what to do on hand.

Even though the elderly person is still mobile, can take care of himself or herself without much trouble for the most part, relying on a home care aide can be an asset. Depending on the severity of the epilepsy and the likelihood of episodes occurring at any given time, keeping home care aides on staff may be necessary to improve safety.

Even just for a couple of hours in the day could provide emotional support to that senior, but also relay great strategies to family and friends who are this person’s main support system.

Step #2: Create safer areas in the house.

Wherever this senior spends the majority of his or her time while at home, the area should be free of as many potential hazards as possible. For example, if he spends a lot of time in the family room, where the TV is, any end tables, coffee tables, or other furniture items that have sharp edges should be removed or things should be added along those corners to reduce the risk of injury if the person strikes them with their arm, head, or other part of their body.

If they spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen, some kind of rug or softer cushion around the table where they spend that time might help in the event they have a seizure and slip to the ground.

Step #3: Make sure people know what to do.

While it’s incredibly important to consider home care support, if family, including children, a spouse, or even friends are going to be helping, they should be well-versed in what to do in the event of a seizure. In days of old, people were taught to grasp onto the individual and hold them to keep them from convulsing and causing injury. This has since been reversed and instead the person should be eased into a position that will limit any risk of injury to themselves or others.

They should make sure they are not going to be choking and otherwise simply supported during the episode. Once the seizure has passed, that person will need help getting up and it may be best to lead them to their bed where they can sleep. That seizure will take a serious toll on their strength and stamina.


Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

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