Epilepsy Talk

Is Your Home Seizure-Proof? | May 31, 2021

How many of us have had accidents while having seizures at home?

(I almost drowned in the shower because of the way the shower door was constructed.)

Here are some suggestions to help make your home safer.

Of course your seizure type and frequency will dictate the adjustments needed to maintain safety.

First of all, it’s a good idea to walk through your house and take note of any potential danger areas.

Arrange your home and if possible, kitchen, bathroom, work and living spaces, to be safe should you have a seizure.

Pad sharp corners, include a non-trip/non-slip carpet, put barriers in front of fireplaces or hot stoves.

If you wander confused during or after a seizure, pay special attention to heights, railings and nearby pools or bodies of water.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

Living in a house or apartment which doesn’t have stairs reduces the risk of injury from falls.

Carpet the floors, including entrance ways and bathrooms, using dense pile carpet with thick under padding.

Clear any obstacles in the main paths.

Avoid climbing up on chairs or ladders, especially when alone.

Securely lock outside doors, if you tend to wander during a seizure.

If you live alone, have a “buddy system,” if you need to be checked on.

Pre-program your phone for emergency contact numbers.

Adding a subscription to a Lifeline® Personal Help Button (1-800-387-1215) gives you instant push button contact, should you need help.

THE KITCHEN

Use automatic shut-off appliances, power tools, etc. whenever possible.

Try substituting a microwave oven rather than a stove to cook.

Consider cooking on back burners as much as possible.

Instead of glass or porcelain, store food in shatterproof plastic containers or bags.

Keep knives in a slotted knife draw.

Wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes.

THE BATHROOM

Make sure the bathroom doors open outward rather than inward, so they can be opened in case you fall.

Install a shower seat as well as nonskid strips to minimize the danger of falling.

Use tub rails or grab bars.

Use shatterproof glass for mirrors and shower doors.

Keep water heater temperature low to prevent scalding.

Check the bathtub drain to make sure it’s working properly.

Keep the water in the tub at low levels.

LIVING SPACES

Keep floors clear of clutter and tie up dangling electrical cords.

When you buy furniture, choose pieces that have rounded corners.

Place non-flammable secure barriers in front of hot radiators, heaters and fireplaces.

If you use a space heater, choose one that doesn’t tip over.

Use electric and home appliances that have automatic shut-off switches.

Choose chairs that have arms, to keep from falling off.

Don’t leave drawers open.

And last but not least, try to pay attention to your surroundings, so you don’t walk into walls and furniture (rounded edges or not) like me!

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Resources:

https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/seizure-first-aid-and-safety/staying-safe/safety-home

http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/guide/making-home-safe

https://epilepsynewengland.org/knowledge-center/safety/at-home

https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/3/creating-safe-home-environment-seizures

https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy/having-seizure-alone


11 Comments »

  1. Thanks, Phylis for these excellent suggestions about how to keep us safer. Most of us are caught in that conundrum of being on meds that say “may cause dizziness”. Blah, blah, blah. I’m being tried out on three of them right now. So my house with a staircase and step-downs all around is that literal “accident ready to happen.” I look like an absolute klutz just trying to walk from A to B. But that is another part of being a person living with epilepsy. I am fortunate, however. I’m still living. My accidents happen in the bedroom while I’m asleep. When I have a tonic-clonic seizure, I can violently throw myself out of bed. So my wife and I have dealt with that situation with getting those side pillows, which unfortunately can almost drown you in their material. Suggestions? But their purpose is to keep me from throwing myself out of bed. I have no knowledge of my violent seizures so it is an uncontrolled and violent fall. Also, we have permanently moved my bedside table a good 5 feet all the way back to the wall and take the lamp off before going to sleep in case I begin to thrash on the floor. Prior to these precautions, I had busted one of those tables up and one of them had given me a black eye that looks like I was in a boxing match. So my only real-world advice is to move your bedside table away from your bed before you go to sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by George Choyce — May 31, 2021 @ 10:35 AM

  2. George, there’s something called a Sleep Safe Pillow. It’s available from the UK. And apparently, it’s the bees knees.

    Here’s a brief overview — http://bcepilepsy.com/blog/an-overview-and-review-of-the-sleep-safe-pillow

    It’s expensive, but you can buy it in the US via PayPal. If you’d like, I’ll get one forwarded to you if you give me your address. (I have a PayPal account.)

    There’s this cool Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow which “incorporates two correct pillow shapes into one pillow with different height for back and side sleeping. Therapeutica Cervical contour maintains neck’s natural curve and center cavity cradles head for optimal support and comfort, available at Amazon.”

    You might consider a 3-in-1 100% natural and adjustable travel pillow. https://sleepandbeyond.com/product/mytravel-pillow/

    And that’s the best I could find. They’re expensive, as I said, so if you give me your address, I’d be glad to have one shipped to you, no problem.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 31, 2021 @ 11:28 AM

  3. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.

    Like

    Comment by Kenneth — May 31, 2021 @ 11:54 AM

  4. Now we should all put thick padding on our walls and lay our beds on the ground and remove all furniture and have tv/computer built into the wall. Hehehehe. But ya, best to try and be conscous of what may happen in case of a big seizure. I too fell out of bed once, and now i also have a small table next to my bed with my emergency meds in case if i have an aura i’ll be able to take them quickly. What i did is put a small sofa pillow between me and the small table that’s like 1ft x 1ft. I’ve also layed down a mattress for an outdoor lawn chair near my bed, should i fall to the ground i’ll have some sort of padding, if i’m lucky to manuver myself on it.

    Sometimes when i’m cooking i’m scared i may have a seizure and the stuff on the hot plate will burn down. So i don’t cook much, i’ll stick to sandwiches and easy stuff. My oven is great, it has a shut down feature where it will shut down at the time i program it to stop cooking.

    I have a pool, but in CA it’s a must at times, so i’ll jump in and get out rather then play inside the pool. Like today it’s supposed to get in 105 deg weather. UGH.

    You can only do so much, sometimes u just need to live life and throw the dice and see what happens. Be fearfull, but don’t let fear control u.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — May 31, 2021 @ 1:32 PM

  5. Right Zolt. You can’t just hide under the bed or freeze in place.

    By the way, I like your small sofa pillow idea and the emergency meds next to the small side table. It’s brilliant!

    However, I don’t quite understand the lawn chair maneuver.

    Maybe all this information this will help George.

    And I agree. Be careful, but don’t let fear control you!

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 31, 2021 @ 2:29 PM

  6. Hi Phylis, it’s just the padding from a lawn chair, that i put down on the floor, close to my bed. The last 3 seizures i had started with my auras, so i sat on my bed and then the seizure pulled me down to the hard floor. Even with carpet, it’s hard. So there is a walk space between my bed and the padding on the floor.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — May 31, 2021 @ 2:55 PM

  7. Very clever.

    When I had my auras, I used to hit the floor before the floor hit me. It was a strategy. Not always successful. 🙂

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 31, 2021 @ 6:26 PM

  8. I passed out in my first apartment hit the floor banging into the cabinet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by russell ray hanawalt — May 31, 2021 @ 9:07 PM

  9. Using a curtain for a door, in the shower works well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Lisa — June 1, 2021 @ 9:52 AM

    • Smart idea.

      Unfortunately, one time I slipped in a hotel shower and took the curtain down with me. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it prevented me from bashing into the bathroom sink!

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 1, 2021 @ 9:55 AM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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