question-and-answer sections are meant to address the topics on caregivers’
minds regarding epilepsy in young adults or the elderly.
Young Adults With Epilepsy
Should my young adult drive?
Every state has its own laws on epilepsy and driving. Most states say that you must
be free of seizures for a certain period of time, in most states 6 to 12 months.
Check with the Division of Motor Vehicles in your state to find out about your local
Is dating okay?
Many young adults worry that their date will not want to go out with them if they find
out about their epilepsy. That could happen. But honesty is always the best policy.
It is also a good idea that friends and boyfriends/girlfriends of your young adult know
what to expect so they will not be alarmed in the case of a seizure and can help
in that event.
Can playing video games cause a seizure?
For most people with epilepsy, the answer is no. But a small number of people can
have a seizure when they see flashing lights. Talk to your neurologist or epileptologist
for more specifics about your young adult condition.
Elderly Persons With Epilepsy
Is it okay for older people with epilepsy to live alone?
Although there are always exceptions, older people with epilepsy who are otherwise
in good health and whose mental abilities are unaffected can usually continue to
Of course, there are risks associated with seizures when people live alone. However,
making certain changes in the home can reduce them.
For example, living in a house or apartment which does not have stairs reduces the
risk of injury from falls. Injury from falls is also less likely if the home has
carpeted floors, padded furniture, and protective padding around the corners of
tables. See Epilepsy in Your Everyday Life for more at-home safety
Someone with fairly frequent seizures may want to carry a portable phone or beeper
so that they can call for help from any part of the house.
Some older people living alone prefer to work out a simple code, like a flowerpot
in a window, or a shade that is lowered and raised according to a schedule, to let
friends and neighbors know that all is well or to alert them if there are problems.
Are older people with epilepsy allowed to drive? Older people with epilepsy
whose seizures are fully controlled with epilepsy medication (and who meet other licensing
requirements) can qualify to drive in all parts of the United States.
In most states they will have to show that they have met their state’s seizure-free
requirements (usually between 3 months and 1 year, depending on the state) and provide
any required doctor’s statements to the Department of Motor Vehicles.