Epilepsy in older adults

More than half of all new-onset epilep­sies affect older people, but are often not recog­nised or are mistaken for other issues. We work to inform as many carers, relatives and people who might develop epilepsy as possible about the disorder.

Epilepsy in older people is often diffi­cult to recog­nise. The symptoms include dizzi­ness, forget­ful­ness, confu­sion and falls, and seizures do not always involve convul­sions. Epilepsy is the third most common nervous system disorder in old age – and because we are living longer and longer it occurs more and more frequently.

Once diagnosed, epilepsy in older persons usually responds well to treat­ment. Medica­tion can prevent dangerous falls and diffi­cult conva­les­cence periods after seizures.

The obser­va­tions of carers and relatives are impor­tant in achieving the correct diagnosis, which is why the Epilepsy League is working to raise people’s aware­ness.

Author: Günter Krämer, latest update: 2017.