Epilepsy is a common, chronic disorder caused by surges or disturbances in the electrical functioning of the brain. These surges or disturbances cause seizures, and during these seizures certain actions, movements, thoughts, speech, and emotions can be altered.
Caring for a senior with seizures is not too difficult. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help make caregiving easier and a lot less stressful.
|DO make them as comfortable as possible. Loosen neckties, scarves, or anything around the neck. Place something flat and soft, such as a towel or jacket, under their head.
DO reassure anyone close at hand and discourage onlookers from intruding. Remember, if you stay calm, others will too.
DO time the length of the seizure. His or her neurologist will most likely want this information.
DO stay with them until the seizure ends naturally. Then place them on his or her left side. Post-seizure vomiting can occur before they are fully conscious; turn his or her head so the vomit can drain without being inhaled.
DO be as gentle and supportive as possible as consciousness returns.
DO remember that after a seizure they are usually stricken with a period of confusion. During this time they will be unaware of anything and most times can’t even put complete sentences together. This state of confusion can last between 5 to 15 minutes or more depending on how long the seizure was.
DO know what medications are being taken and when to give the medications to him or her. Many times these medications have to be given at strict times to avoid an onset of another seizure.
|DON’T restrain or hold him or her down. Make sure there is nothing hard or sharp nearby that could cause harm.
DON’T stick your finger or any other object in the person’s mouth. It is not true that a person experiencing a seizure can swallow his or her tongue. Avoid artificial respiration (such as CPR) except in the rare event that the person is not breathing once the seizure subsides.
DON’T wait to call 911 if this is their first seizure or if the seizure lasts more than five minutes.
DON’T offer water, food, or pills until they are fully alert. Most times this includes the period of confusion as well.
DON’T panic. If you panic everyone around you is going to panic and this is going to lead to stress. The last thing they need when coming out of a seizure is everyone stressed. Stress is usually one of the triggers of seizures. Remaining calm will help him or her recover from it quicker.
If you remember these do’s and don’ts when providing care for a senior with a seizure condition, caring for them will be a lot smoother and helping them a lot less stressful. To learn more about how seizures are triggered, and how to help seizure victims, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.