Though epilepsy can be problematic for people of any age, it can be especially dangerous for people over 65. In fact, seniors with epilepsy have a mortality rate 2 to 3 times higher than younger adults. Here are the top 5 causes of epilepsy in the elderly and tips on how to help your aging loved one prevent each cause.
Strokes are the most common cause of new-onset epilepsy in seniors. Seizures are most likely to develop during the first year following a stroke and are more common following hemorrhagic strokes than ischemic strokes. Seniors can reduce their risk of strokes by adopting healthy lifestyle habits like quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and eating a balanced diet. Your loved one should also talk to a doctor about ways to manage specific health conditions that could increase his or her risk of stroke.
2. Neurodegenerative Diseases
Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders are believed to account for 10 to 20 percent of epilepsy cases in seniors. Alzheimer’s disease causes changes in the brain’s internal structure that can trigger seizures. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying socially and intellectually active can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Tucson Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Post-traumatic epilepsy is a significant risk for seniors. Most cases of head injuries in the elderly are the result of falls. You can reduce your loved one’s risk of falls by removing clutter, rugs, and other tripping hazards, ensuring adequate lighting, and providing mobility aids when appropriate.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
4. Psychiatric Illness
Although the reason for the connection is unclear, there does appear to be a higher incidence of new-onset seizures in seniors with psychiatric conditions. In certain seniors, conditions such as anxiety or depression may occur prior to a diagnosis of epilepsy. If you believe your loved one is experiencing depression, anxiety, or another psychiatric condition, talk to his or her doctor about the appropriate treatment.
5. Other Causes
Although not technically considered epilepsy, acute seizures can occur in seniors as a result of various reversible causes. The most common causes include infections, electrolyte imbalances, and medications. A doctor can determine if your loved one’s seizures are the result of an underlying medical condition that can be easily treated.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Tucson senior care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. Call Home Care Assistance today at (520) 276-6555 to learn about our high-quality home care.