Having epilepsy does not mean one cannot live independently or happily. In fact, you can! Because those with epilepsy who have good health and whose mental faculties are not affected, can live independently well into adulthood.
There are always going to be risks in living alone when one has seizures– but if you take all necessary precautions and do the things geared to making independent living a safe and healthy environment, then it’s not something you should fear.
To start, you can reduce risks when looking into a house or an apartment by finding one that does not have stairs to help avoid any accidental falls or injuries caused by a seizure. Place padding around table corners or any furniture to prevent hitting them during seizure activity.
Have a plan of action ready so that if you need assistance, you can alert friends, family or neighbors. If you have the type of epilepsy where you have uncontrolled seizures, using a beeper or phone code system would be beneficial in alerting help for you, whether you are in the house or outside.
These are good tips I’ve found when researching for this particular topic, and I think you will find them helpful in regards to medications and safe guarding areas in your home:
- Leave yourself notes. Write reminders in your day planner or put sticky notes on your refrigerator or medicine cabinet—anywhere you will see them.
- Fill a pillbox with a week’s supply of epilepsy medication. If at the end of the week you have leftover pills, consult your physician on how to get back on track.
Every home has two main areas that can invite harm—the kitchen and the bathroom. After a complex partial seizure, people can become confused and risk injury. There are several things you can do to decrease the chance of accidents:
On safeguarding your kitchen:
- Use oven mitts while cooking, and only cook on rear burners.
- If possible, use an electric stove, so there is no open flame.
- Cook in a microwave, which is the safest option; microwave cookbooks are available.
- Keep a cart in the kitchen. This lets you wheel food to the table, so you don’t risk dropping hot food.
On safeguarding your bathroom:
- Install a device in your tub and shower head that controls temperature. This keeps you from burning yourself if a seizure should occur, causing you to possibly hit the temperature knob.
- Do not put a lock on the bathroom door. If you have one, never use it. Someone should always be able to get in, if you need help.
- Carpet the floor—I recommend using soft non-slip rugs throughout your bathrooms.
How to Participate Safely in Physical Activities:
- If seizures usually occur at a certain time, plan activities when seizures are less likely to happen.
- Avoid extreme heat when exercising and keep hydrated with plenty of water to reduce seizure risks.
- Check with your neurologist before starting any new exercise program.
For more tips, you can visit: https://www.epilepsyadvocate.com/living-with-epilepsy/taking-medication.aspx.
Remember, there are no strict laws or guidelines for living with epilepsy as each person’s case and diagnosis is different; but knowing your triggers, taking your medications, and continually following up with your physicians are all part of daily management and self-care.
Living alone means taking responsibility for your health and well-being with support from those involved in your care and treatment. Preventing accidents gives you a better quality of life and helps you achieve what you need most: independence!
About Susan Noble
As President and Founder of the Epilepsy Warriors Foundation, Susan Noble is striving to reach as many people within the local communities to help educate and bring an end to the stigma of epilepsy. It takes team work. It involves supporting each other in all efforts. It means showing the world that epilepsy is worth researching, fighting for and funding. We are all fighting for a CURE for our children and those “living with epilepsy” every day. We are a new foundation one with a passionate vision. This vision will light our path and guide us towards our goals of “enlightening, empowering and curing.”
Susan and her family reside both in Chicago, IL and in Fort Myers, Florida– otherwise known as her little slice of paradise.