Living on Your Own
Living on your own has lots of perks – no curfew, few rules and getting to eat whatever you want. At the same time, there's no one to take care of you when you get sick and suddenly things that always seemed free – cable, heat, electricity and food – require regular chunks of your paycheck.
Living on your own means also taking a lot of responsibility for your health. If you've never worn a Medical Alert bracelet or necklace, you might want to get one when you move into your own apartment or house. If you have a seizure, this can ensure that people know how to help you.
Emergency Action Plan
An Emergency Action Plan is exactly what it sounds like. In the event that you have seizures that don't stop, or you hurt yourself in the process of a seizure, an Emergency Action Plan tells other people what they should do. You can use this form to set up your own plan.
You may want to put your Emergency Action Plan on your fridge and give a copy to your friends or roommates along with information on your type of seizures.
It's always a good idea to tell your roommates about your epilepsy. You want to make sure you feel comfortable taking your medicine in front of them and, if you have a seizure at home, you'll want to make sure they know what to do. If you are still having seizures and you live alone, you may want to tell your neighbors.
It may seem strange to go to the people who live next door and start talking about epilepsy, so you may want to take it slow. When you first meet your neighbors, you might just want to talk about why you moved to the area. After you get to know them a bit more, you can mention your epilepsy – and a box of chocolate chip cookies never hurt as an ice breaker!
You may want to give your friends or a neighbor a spare key to your home or apartment in the case of an emergency or if you lock yourself out. If you're giving out copies of your keys, make sure you trust the person. You wouldn't want your house keys shared.
Furniture placement & epilepsy proofing
If you're still having seizures, it's a good idea to make your home as seizure-safe as possible. For example, living in a house or apartment which does not have stairs reduces the risk of injury from falls; carpeted floors provide a softer surface; and so does using padded furniture and putting protective padding around the corners of tables.
Technology is also available to help people with disabilities to keep in touch with family members. From time to time new devices are developed to help people with disabilities handle day to day living. If seizures are fairly frequent, portable phones or beepers provide a way to call for help from any part of the house. Some people living alone prefer to work out a simple code, like a flower pot in a window, or a shade that is lowered and raised according to a schedule, to reassure friends and neighbors that all is well or to alert them if there are problems.
Fire, heat, and water are hazards for people of any age who have seizures. That's because people do not feel pain or perceive danger during seizures, and are therefore unable to protect themselves.
It can be hard when you're in school and away from your typical doctor or working full-time and crunched on time, to make it to your doctor's appointments as regularly as you should. Try to make it a priority and don't be afraid to ask your boss or your professors for time-off if needed.
Changing your medicine
If you're worried about your insurance covering the medicine, or if you're having a hard time paying for your medicine, it's ok to ask your doctor about less expensive alternatives or suggestions such as generic medicines. Remember that your health is the most important thing though – taking a cheaper medicine that causes your seizures to return won't save you any money in the long-term.
Understanding insurance and what's covered
Dealing with health insurance companies can sometimes be extremely frustrating; luckily with the new Patient and Protection and Affordable Care Act, you can stay on your parents insurance until you are 26! Working with your insurance company and following their guidelines from the start can make life a lot easier for everyone and can ensure your health care is as affordable as possible. You can learn more here.
Driving may not be a possibility for everyone with epilepsy, but numerous methods of public and paratransit services are available. Find out more about them here.
Whether you're working a part-time job at a fast food place for spending money or you're interning in a business office, part-time jobs and internships can give you valuable skills for the future and give you that first bit of resume-building experience.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that epilepsy shouldn't stop you! There are very few jobs that are closed to people who have epilepsy and in some cases, those restrictions are temporary. In your search for a part-time job or internship, it is very unlikely that you will face any restrictions.Keep reading to find out more on how you should deal with epilepsy on the job, whatever that job may be!