Independent Woman

Can people with epilepsy live on their own? What problems might they have? What if they need more help?

Managing epilepsy is more than just the knowing how to handle the medical aspects of seizures or knowing how to stay safe. A key part is knowing how it can affect a person's independence and day-to-day needs. It's also important to know how to get help when it is needed. Some people may live on their own, alone or with immediate families. Others may need a more structured or supervised living arrangement.

Did you know...

  • 1 in 5 adults with active epilepsy lives alone1
  • Unemployment and underemployment is greater in adults with active epilepsy2
    • 32.5% are unable to work
    • Another 13.25% are limited in work due to epilepsy
  • 43.7% of adults with active epilepsy with recent seizures are disabled3
  • About 50% of adults with active epilepsy and seizures have family incomes less than $25,0004
  • 1 out of 3 parents of children with epilepsy worry that their food will run out or won’t last until they get more money5

Things to Consider for Independent Living

Many things can affect a person's ability to live independently and work, go to school, afford food and shelter, or socialize in their community. The list is endless but here are a few things to consider...

Find Help Here

Wellness Wheel
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In this section, the Epilepsy Foundation’s Wellness Institute is addressing how epilepsy affects a person’s independent living and quality of life.

  • More practical information about work, education, housing, finances, and community supports will be added to this section.
  • Resources in your community can be found by visiting your local Epilepsy Foundation.


  1. Kobau R. Nearly one in five adults with active epilepsy lives alone based on findings from the 2010 and 2013 US National Health Interview Surveys. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Epilepsy Program. Epilepsy Behav. 2015;51:259-60.
  2. Kobau R, Cui W, Kadima N, et al. Tracking psychosocial health in adults with epilepsy--estimates from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. ;Epilepsy Behav. 2014;41:66-73.
  3. Thurman DJ, Kobau R, Luo YH, et al. Health-care access among adults with epilepsy: The U.S. National Health Interview Survey, 2010 and 2013. Epilepsy Behav. 2016;55:184-8.
  4. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epilepsy Program. About one-half of adults with active epilepsy and seizures have annual family incomes under $25,000: The 2010 and 2013 US National Health Interview Surveys. Epilepsy Behav. 2016;58:33-4.
  5. Cui W, Kobau R, Zack M, et al. Seizures in Children and Adolescents Aged 6–17 Years — United States, 2010–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2015;64(43);1209-1214.
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Authored By: 
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Tuesday, August 29, 2017