Elderly are a very specific group with unique challenges, from diagnosis to treatment. Treatment management can be complicated by the presence of physiological changes related to aging, co-morbidities, cognitive problems, drug interactions and medication adherence.


Epilepsy in seniors may be caused by many conditions that affect the brain, such as:

• Stroke
• Head injuries from falls
• Chronic alcoholism
• Heart disease
• Previous brain surgery
• Infections affecting the brain
• High blood pressure
• Brain tumors
• Alzheimer’s/dementia

Stroke continues to be the number one cause of seizures that begin in later life. The physiology becomes different at the arteries level and some parts of the brain may become deprived of blood and oxygen, producing damage that may result in seizures. Bleeding in the brain, which is another form of stroke, may also leave a person with seizures afterwards.
Due to the age-related changes that occur, precaution is very important and even in the cases in which someone has had epilepsy for a long time, it is recommended a review of the treatment by the doctor, particularly once that person becomes 65 or 70.

Medication is often used for the control of seizures, acting in the prevention of the same or in the reduction of their frequency. Relevant recommendations at this level are:

• Medicines have to be taken every day and on time.
• Not to stop the medicine suddenly and without medical recommendation.
• A daily tracker revealing which medicines have to be taken and when can be a good support.
• To keep an alarm when the medicine has to be taken or even to have some reminders in specific places can also be an additional help to the medication adherence.

Treatment is a fundamental step in this journey, but there are common factors that can affect this stage and that need to be on people’s mind:

• Memory loss
• Vulnerability to falls
• Slower metabolism
• Status epilepticus
• Drug interactions

Elderly continue to be more sensitive than younger groups to a diversity of medical, neurological and psychiatric disorders that can have as triggers mental, physical or environmental factors. Some of these disorders are the basis for the possible appearance of seizures. The rate of newly diagnosed cases of epilepsy continue to be higher in the elderly than in middle-age elements, and this is the reason why special attention has to be paid to this age group.