Seniors with epilepsy should know how it impacts mobility, as well as the physical consequences of seizures. Epilepsy changes quality of life, and for many, may cause a loss of autonomy and independence. Mobility aids are one way to reduce the risks of a fall and create a safer environment for those that experience seizures. Also, consider Epilepsy Awareness Month to gain valuable insight, information, and support.
Did you know that November is Epilepsy Awareness Month? There is a strong connection between epilepsy and mobility, and many living with epilepsy struggle with physical disabilities, mobility limitations, and seizures. Furthermore, antiepileptic drugs (AED) can cause blurred vision, fatigue, and drowsiness, which could lead to accidental injury. Seniors with epilepsy should consider mobility aids and equipment- which may help reduce the risk of a fall.
Here are a few things that seniors should know about epilepsy and mobility:
- The mobility issues caused by epilepsy can impact all areas of life, including work, school, relationships, and even the way we act in public. Do not underestimate the challenges, but do not be afraid to tackle them, either.
- Studies show that those with epilepsy that experience severe and frequent seizures may have a shorter life expectancy on average.
- Those with frequent and severe seizure activity also are at greater risk of cognitive impairment especially those that had seizures often as a child.
- An often-invisible symptom of epileptic seizures is the loss of autonomy, including regular activities like driving. Some states will not issue a driver’s license to individuals with epilepsy. There are exceptions but those with severe symptoms, like long auras or frequent seizures, may lose the freedom to drive.
- There is a link between the frequency of seizures and the chance of experiencing an accident or injury during a seizure. Experts assert that the longer you go without a seizure, the less likely you are to become injured during a seizure episode.
- Studies show that waiting at least a year after your last seizure before driving a vehicle reduces the risk of a seizure behind the wheel or accident by over 90%.
- Seizure risks among those with conditions like epilepsy do impede participation in certain activities. For safety’s sake, it is not recommended that people diagnosed with seizure disorders skydive or race cars, where the risks of injury are high. Be cautious when engaging in water sports, like swimming, or boating.
- Those with epilepsy that experience seizures are encouraged to do physical activity, and activities like team sports or running are suggested. Physical activity is good, but take precautions to keep yourself safe, too.
- You are more at risk for seizures when you are dehydrated or when you overexert yourself, so work out accordingly.
- Keep in mind that there are simple and inexpensive mobility aids that can help reduce the risk of a fall for people that experience seizures. Grab bars, for instance, provide a supportive place to grab if you need them. These can be installed easily and are very effective at creating a safer home environment.
- Since overexertion can lead to seizures, it may benefit some people living with this condition to invest in stairlifts for their home. These can easily and safely transport the user up steps or stairs, lowering the risk of a fall and increasing the autonomy of the user. If you want to find out more about mobility aids, reach out to a mobility aid retail professional in your area.
- If you tire easily, it makes sense to carry a cane or walking stick for support on uneven or rough terrain. These are not bulky aids so you can carry or transport them with ease for a bit of added stability wherever you go.
- Some good news is that modern therapy and treatment for epilepsy show significant help for about 80% of those diagnosed. These treatment modalities may also help reduce the frequency of seizures among those with epilepsy, some going years between occurrences.
Reach out to area agencies during November for National Epilepsy Awareness Month to find out more about resources available to you in your region. During this time, typically there are events, fundraisers, and activities geared toward education, advocacy, and awareness, creating a network of sorts to support those living with epilepsy. There may also be valuable resources available to you that you were unaware of; this is the perfect time to explore these options.
Are you experiencing a loss of mobility due to epilepsy? Improve accessibility and quality of life with mobility aids and equipment at Pacific Mobility. From grab bars and walking sticks to stairlifts and ramps, there are a number of ways to create a safer environment for those with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Talk to one of our qualified mobility professionals to find out more about the best mobility solutions for your distinct home environment; call or visit today.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)