How to care for an elderly with seizure
Seizures are often a common occurrence in an elderly. Suggesting an imbalance in the electrical activity in the brain. A seizure is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of so many other conditions affecting the brain.
Seizures are unusual behavior and actions. That is usually followed by loss of consciousness. Elderly having seizures, experience falls, jerking movements accompanied by body stiffening. This entire set of events take a toll on our elderly. And they really have a difficult time managing the condition. Caregivers, therefore, have an extremely important role to play in such conditions. Taking care of an elderly who often experiences seizures, is not an easy task. And caregivers need to be fully aware of the various risks that can follow.
Problems that can follow a seizure attack
While your loved one is having a seizure attack. There is a great possibility that they suffer from secondary injuries. Therefore, as a caregiver, you have to watch for signs of constant pain after the seizure ends. A headache is usually common after an attack of seizure. However, never ignore a severe attack. If your senior complains of chest pain or is experiencing the unusual pain of some nature. it also indicates an emergency situation.
If your senior is having a convulsion seizure that has lasted for more than 5 minutes. Or there is a consecutive attack that follows within a couple of minutes. Then call a doctor immediately, take to the emergency department, or call 911.
A labored breathing is also a sign of an emergency. And if you notice that your elderly loved one is experiencing it. Then it is best to call the doctor or 911.
Loss of consciousness
After an episode of seizure. There are chances that your senior does not regain consciousness within few minutes. In such instances also, it is important that you call the doctor or 911 immediately.
If you notice that your elderly is experiencing a period of confusion. Then it indicates that something is seriously wrong and that you have to call 911.
Handling confusion in an elderly during a seizure attack
Confusion is the most common thing to experience by an elderly during a seizure attack. The following checklist can be of help for caregivers. While managing their elderly during a seizure attack.
- Make sure you remove all objects. and other items that can be a source of injury for the elderly when they are having a seizure.
- Your elderly may have agitation during a seizure attack. Do not try to restrain them or hold them; this can aggravate the condition and make matters worse.
- Once an attack of seizure ends, try and calm your elderly as much as possible. If you notice, that there is still some confusion, then you need to call the emergency.
- During a complex partial seizure, if your elderly is wandering or appears to be in a confused state. It is best not to hold them back.
Types of seizures experienced by elderly
There are various types of seizures experienced by our elderly. The type of seizure your elderly may be suffering from. It depends on which part of the brain the electrical disturbance is taking place. And how much is the brain affected? The following are the various types of seizures experienced by our elderly.
These occur when waves of electrical activity affect the entire brain at once. Such an event may give rise to momentary blackouts. Also, called absence seizure of sudden falls. Other terms are atonic seizures or myoclonic seizures accompanied by massive muscle jerks.
Often called convulsions. Tonic-clonic seizures present with bouts of crying. With the concerned elderly falling to the ground. The body stiffens and there is shallow breathing, which may even stop for a few moments. A frothy saliva may also come out from the mouth and the elderly may also bite their tongue. In many cases, the skin may turn blue in color due to poor supply of oxygen in the blood. There are jerking movements and the entire episode may stop after a few minutes. There is a loss of bladder control as the body gradually relaxes after an attack of seizure. Slowly and steadily the elderly would regain consciousness.
As the name suggests occurs, when only a small part of the brain has improper electrical activity. In such a kind of seizure, the elderly may shake uncontrollably. And may experience a different kind of emotions. Like hearing voices that don’t exist, seeing things which are actually not there, seeing people who longer are alive. All these sequences of events are terrifying for our elderly. This may cause them to hide these experiences from their doctor. As they feel they are going mad. However, a doctor should always know. As there is a different kind of medications for treating partial seizures.
Complex partial seizures
This kind of seizure is common in elderly suffering from epilepsy. In this, the elderly are in a dream – like a state, where they imagine things which do not exist. In seizures of such a nature, the elderly may repeat the same actions again and again. Elderly who get an attack of complex partial seizure. May stare, mumble and make false chewing actions.
What to do at the time of a seizure attack
- At the time of seizure attack. Try and ease your elderly in a reclining position, preferably on a flat surface.
- Support the head with something that is soft and flat.
- To help your elderly breath and to keep the airways clear, make them turn on one side.
- Never ever try to feed your elderly during an attack of seizure; it can be dangerous.
- Never ever force them to have medicines. Until the seizure has resolved completely and your elderly are comfortable enough.
- Jerking movements are a common part of seizures. And it is never advisable that you try to forcefully stop them. During jerking movements, there is a forceful muscle contraction. And if you try to stop them by using physical force. Then you would end up harming your elderly with muscle tear and injury. You may even end up breaking their bones, as with age, bones turn fragile and can break even with minimum force.
The above tips and suggestions will definitely help. Seizures that have a known cause, such as a chemical imbalance or overuse of alcohol. Usually, stop when the medical condition is treated. Many people who have seizures without an identifiable cause. Eventually will stop having seizures, particularly if seizures begin during childhood. Seizures usually can be well controlled with medication. For more information, check out this site. Also, check out this past post on leg tremors. https://theultimatecaregivingexpert.com/2017/10/24/help-leg-tremors/
I am here to help you in any way. Many adult children are thrust into the senior care role for their aging loved one with little or no preparation. If this sounds like you, help is here for you!