Older Adults With Epilepsy
What age groups are most prone to epilepsy?
Epilepsy tends to be most prevalent in two age groups: Children and Older Adults.
With Older Adults, seizures can be hard to notice. That’s because many seniors who experience seizures have focal seizures. During these seizures they tend to stare straight ahead, could be confused, experience a loss of time, forget things, or hear or see things that aren’t really there. Since these symptoms are so subtle, seizures can often go undetected, and, often, can be mistaken for dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Causes of seizure in seniors can include stroke, traumatic brain injury, tumors, or as a side effect of Alzheimer’s. Also, new seizures in Older Adults can be a warning sign that a stroke may be coming later.
If you or someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a neurologist or epileptologist. If a family member is available, have them watch for these symptoms and, once they have determined that the person is safe, record what is happening with their phone. Share that with the neurologist or epileptologist so they can have a better idea of what is taking place. The video will also give the doctor clues to better help them diagnose their patient.
How to spot epilepsy in older adults when it looks like dementia?
“The symptoms are more subtle than at other times of life. They may develop unusual episodic sensations, such as hearing or seeing things, or experience sporadic memory loss or confusion.” For more information,
People in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who “space out” for a minute, or draw a blank about something they just did, could be experiencing focal seizures.
The fastest growing group of epilepsy patients in the United States are people over the age of 65.
Often, it is a challenge to diagnose them with epilepsy.
Symptoms of seizures in seniors can include:
Hearing or Seeing things
Sporadic memory loss
Older Adults tend to develop focal epilepsy, which impacts only a small portion of the brain.
As a result of seizure activity in their brain, they may become anxious all of a sudden or be unaware of their surroundings, or may simply stop and stare.
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