Medical Alerts for Seniors with Seizures

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Seizures

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 17, 2019


Seizures can be caused by a head injury, illness or stroke. In some cases, the cause will remain unknown. Depending on the situation, seizures may eventually cease. If they do continue, however, they can be treated and managed.

Seizure Overview

A seizure is a sudden electrical disturbance in the brain that causes changes in behavior and muscle control and may affect levels of consciousness. Seizures can happen for several reasons, including a closed head injury, an infection like meningitis, or after a stroke, but the cause is often unknown. Symptoms of a seizure can vary from staring blankly to an arm or leg twitching, to loss of consciousness.

Having a seizure does not necessarily mean you have epilepsy. Two unprovoked seizures are required to be diagnosed with epilepsy. Seizure treatments can include medications or surgery. In many cases, the seizures will stop on their own, but in others, lifelong treatment may be necessary.

Seizure Impairment

Seizures can have an impact on all areas of one’s life, especially if they are unexpected. Not knowing when a seizure will occur can become restrictive and can affect your ability to be happy and productive. Impairment from seizures includes:

  • Loss of consciousness or awareness: When nerve cells in the brain misfire, awareness can be impacted. Seizures can sometimes make the person appear to be sleeping, or the person may appear to be awake, but will be staring blankly.
  • Confusion, mental slowness, memory loss, attention problems: Cognitive impairment is a common complaint of those who suffer seizures. Memory loss is a common issue, as is difficulty concentrating.Sometimes language and judgment are also affected. This is often due to changes in the brain following seizures.
  • Inability to control bodily movement: Certain types of seizures cause a person to lose the ability to control bodily movements. These seizures can induce jerky movements of the arms, legs or body, or can cause the person to fall. The safety of the individual is important in every situation.
Medical Alert Benefits

Most seizure symptoms last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. These types of seizures are often not life-threatening.The primary focus should be keeping the person comforted and safe during and after the seizure. Emergency assistance should be called when:

  • The seizure lasts five minutes or longer
  • The seizure occurs in water,
  • The seizure causes difficulty breathing
  • The person has become injured due to the seizure
  • The person experiences a subsequent seizure after the first without being able to regain consciousness in between

A Medical Alert device would be helpful in situations when getting the person to the hospital is critical. If the person having a seizure can recognize its onset and can trigger the medical alert, assistance can be on the way quickly. If someone is with the person having the seizure, they can activate the medical alert and then attend to the person with the seizure, keeping them safe until help arrives.

Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many people who experience seizures live very full lives. In cases where the seizures can be predicted by knowing what triggers them, or in cases where the seizures are under control with medication, general seizure care is all that is necessary.

General seizure first aid includes:

  • Keeping the person safe and comforted during the seizure
  • Removing objects that can cause injury
  • Speaking calmly and reassuringly to the person during and after the seizure
Seizure Precautions:
  • The best precaution is to have a seizure management plan that those around the person have access to. A team approach is often the best way for a family to deal with seizures.
  • If triggers have been identified, the person suffering from seizures should pay attention to avoid those triggers if possible.
  • Take all medications on schedule and don’t miss doses.
Seizure Medical Alerts Conclusion

A seizure that occurs without an identifiable reason can raise concerns that the person has a long-term problem. However, this is not always true. In some cases, seizures will disappear on their own. There are many reasons that seizures occur, including illnesses. In these situations, it is most likely that once the illness passes, the seizures will as well. A diagnosis of epilepsy requires two seizures, the cause of which cannot be identified.

If seizures do become a fact of life, it might be a good idea to consider a medical alert system. Such a device will provide peace of mind, and can even save a life.

Donna McDurfee - Senior Advisor

Donna is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.