Epilepsy Awareness Day, also known as Purple Day, is a day for raising awareness of the facts regarding epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disease where signals in the brain become disturbed, triggering a seizure. These are the facts you should know about the disease and how home care can help your senior manage it.
Epilepsy Affects More Adults Than Children
Three million adults have active epilepsy in the U.S., and just under 500,000 children have it. It’s not uncommon in older adults. Frequently, a stroke, brain tumor, or traumatic brain injury cause epilepsy. If your dad had a stroke, has a brain tumor, or has fallen and hit his head, you may see him having seizures.
It’s important to know the difference between “active” epilepsy and epilepsy. More than five million people have had an epileptic seizure in their life, but only those having regular epileptic seizures meet the qualification for active epilepsy.
There Are Two Classifications for Seizures
When it comes to seizures, they fall into one of two groups. Focal seizures occur only in one section of the brain. A focal seizure may have you smelling a strange smell that isn’t there, make you confused or feel dazed, or cause you to twitch.
The other type is a generalized seizure. One of the most commonly known generalized seizures is a grand mal seizure or tonic-clonic seizure. It’s the seizure that will cause a person to collapse, spasm, and lose consciousness. Generalized seizures also include petit mal or absence seizures and cause rapid blinking or loss of focus/staring into space.
Seizures Are Not Always Emergencies
A seizure may cause alarm and worry you, but the general guidelines are to sit with your dad and keep talking to him so that he knows you’re there. Don’t hold him down or try to restrain him in any way. If it’s a grand mal seizure, you can turn him onto his side to make it easier to breathe.
Stay calm throughout. Then, wait it out. If it’s been more than five minutes or he has other chronic health issues, call paramedics. Once he’s out of it, sit quietly with him until he feels strong enough to stand. Don’t leave him alone until he’s fully aware of his surroundings and stable on his feet again.
Medications Treat Epilepsy
Medications are often the best treatment option for epilepsy. But, your dad’s doctor may recommend brain surgery if he’s having focal seizures triggered by a tumor or in a specific area of the brain.
If he undergoes surgery, plan to have someone with him for a few weeks while he recovers. If he’s going to take medications, he should have someone with him when he takes the medications to monitor him for side effects.
Make Sure He’s Not Alone
When your dad has seizures, make sure he’s not alone. Arrange to have caregivers with him until medications are helping prevent seizures. They can keep him company, help around the house, and drive him to appointments and tests. Learn more about home care services by talking to an advisor.
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