Is Your Home Seizure-Proof?

Phylis Johnson is a professional copywriter and also lives with epilepsy for decades. In her article below she advocates for a better, safer, home environment.

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 entranceways 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.

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!