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5 Common Causes of Epilepsy in Older Adults

By Beth Brown, 9:00 am on

Approximately 300,000 American seniors live with epilepsy, and their conditions may have developed due to a wide variety of causes. The Palm Beach senior care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss a few of the common factors leading to epilepsy in older adults.

1. Strokes

A 2013 study funded by the Epilepsy Foundation revealed strokes are the number one cause of epilepsy in adults over age 65. This startling statistic is just one more reason why your senior loved one should be doing everything in his or her power to lower the risk of having a stroke. Some of the most effective ways to prevent strokes include staying at a healthy weight, exercising, drinking in moderation, quitting tobacco products, and keeping blood pressure below 120/80.

2. Head Injuries

Head injuries are very common among the senior population due to many older adults having limited mobility and balance. Even minor head injuries can increase your loved one’s likelihood of developing epilepsy. Consider installing safety features throughout your loved one’s home, including grab bars, ramps, and walk-in showers.

3. Tumors

Many people associate brain tumors with cancer, but this medical term describes any mass of abnormal cells in the brain. We still know very little about brain tumors, but most specialists agree they are the result of both environmental factors and genetics. Regularly getting tested for cancerous cells is the most effective way to prevent long-term tumor-related damage.

4. Infectious Diseases

Any infectious disease that affects your loved one’s brain or nervous system can increase his or her risk of having a seizure. HIV, AIDS, meningitis, and viral encephalitis can all result in epilepsy. As a general rule, any seniors who exhibit unusual medical issues such as ongoing fevers, chronic migraines, or impaired vision should immediately speak with their doctor about being screened for infectious diseases.

5. Genetics

If a doctor cannot discover the exact cause of a senior’s epilepsy after running tests, the condition will typically be attributed to genetics. A senior can go his or her entire life without experiencing a single seizure only to develop epilepsy when he or she grows older. Though there is no test to check if your loved one is prone to seizures, he or she should still be wary of any issues involving cognitive abilities and mental health.

If your loved one has epilepsy and you are concerned about his or her safety while living alone, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist with mobility, provide transportation to medical appointments, and help with tasks like bathing, cooking, and light housekeeping. For more information on the respite and live-in home care Palm Beach seniors and their families rely on, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 561.429.8292 to request a free in-home consultation.