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Epilepsy and older people

Epilepsy is very common in people over the age of 60. In fact, epilepsy affects children under the age of 5, and people over 60, more than any other age groups.

 

Epilepsy is not always the first possibility that comes to mind when an older adult has a seizure. Its clinical presentation can resemble other conditions common in the older population, such as stroke, head injury, brain tumours, cardiovascular disease, or dementia.  

Ageing in itself can be challenging and sometimes isolating, but older people with epilepsy have an added complication. This can have a profound impact on a person’s independence and capacity for economic and social inclusion.  

An older person with epilepsy may experience further confounding factors, such as:

  • higher sensitivity to the toxicity of anti-seizure medications
  • medication side effects of confusion, disorientation and tiredness 
  • adverse interactions between anti-seizure medications and other medications 
  • increased problems with memory due to medication
  • increased risk of falls and injury dependant on seizure type
  • increased home safety requirements

You can find out more about this in the factsheet below.

 

“Faints, spells and funny turns- Could it be epilepsy?”

 

A pilot project to develop resources to improve the ability of seniors with epilepsy to access and be included in the community

Epilepsy Queensland is proud to have received a grant from the Brisbane City Council – Access and Inclusion Program 2018-2019 for this project, to address access and inclusion barriers for elderly people with epilepsy. The overarching goal is to identify and break down barriers (perceived or real) of older people living with epilepsy and focus on a capacity-building approach, complemented by age-appropriate, factual, engaging and informative resources about epilepsy within the ageing population.  

Making the most in later life with epilepsy 

Epilepsy Queensland has fantastic new resources and workbooks that have been created, guided by the outcomes of the project and co-designed by its participants.

“Making the most of later life with epilepsy” is a 3-part, self-paced workbook suitable for older people living with epilepsy and their families and carers. The book provides learning opportunities to build the capacity of older people with epilepsy and their family and carers to solve problems, communicate and build relationships, seek support, and potentially to alter their approach and/or circumstances towards improving quality of life. There are also helpful links to resources and services included. You can access them below.

There is also a health practitioner’s resource, “Could it be epilepsy? A brief guide for health professionals” and flyer available.