Epileptic seizures can occur in seniors due to several conditions such as strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Most people with epilepsy are able to control seizures through medication and other treatments. If you are exploring options to manage your loved one’s seizures, Sacramento senior care experts have put together a list of medical and complementary therapy options you can discuss with your loved one’s doctor.
Anticonvulsants are used to treat a wide variety of epilepsy symptoms, including seizures. Before prescribing an anticonvulsant, the doctor must determine how severe the epilepsy is and where it is originating from. Most anticonvulsants also act as tranquilizers. Seniors with epilepsy and their Sacramento caregivers should be aware anticonvulsants cannot be mixed with any other depressants such as painkillers or alcohol.
2. Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs)
Once the doctor is able to narrow down the type of epilepsy the senior has, he or she might suggest the use of one or more narrow-spectrum AEDs. Unlike anticonvulsants, which act as a general sedative, AEDs only affect a specific area of the brain. These medications are particularly effective at combating seizures that originate in the temporal lobe.
3. Localized Surgery
While most seniors can control their epilepsy with anticonvulsants and anti-seizure pills, some require brain surgery. However, surgery is typically reserved for severe cases of epilepsy that are drastically impacting the senior’s quality of life. During this procedure, the surgeon removes a very small piece of the brain where the soft tissue has become damaged.
4. Ketogenic Diet
The “keto” diet is actually one of the oldest treatments for epilepsy. The diet aims to keep the body in a fasting state so the metabolism skyrockets and the person begins to produce additional ketones. Studies have shown ketones can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in seniors.
5. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
This treatment uses a small electronic device that is implanted just below the skin to stimulate the vagus nerve. Much like a pacemaker, a very weak current is used to animate a nerve cluster to keep it working properly. Some seniors are able to reduce their anticonvulsant doses or go off their medications entirely after having the device implanted in their chest.
If your senior loved one has epileptic seizures, Home Care Assistance can provide the help he or she needs. As a trusted provider of professional respite and live-in care Sacramento families can count on, we continue to set the standard in providing exceptional home care for seniors with epilepsy and other specialized needs. Call one of our Care Managers at 916.706.0169 to schedule your in-home consultation.