Empathy for epilepsy

AWARENESS: Carol Woodfield, 60, was diagnosed with epilepsy at 14. She is looking forward to an open garden event for awareness on Saturday. Picture: Neil Richardson

AWARENESS: Carol Woodfield, 60, was diagnosed with epilepsy at 14. She is looking forward to an open garden event for awareness on Saturday. Picture: Neil Richardson

Epilepsy is a cause particularly important to Kanangra resident, 60-year-old Carol Woodfield.

Ms Woodfield was diagnosed when she was just 14 years old.

She is looking forward to the aged care facility putting on an open garden event on Saturday to raise awareness. 

There is an increasing number of older people being diagnosed with epilepsy, Epilepsy Tasmania chief executive Wendy Groot said. 

RAISING AWARENESS: Aged Care Deloraine arts health coordinator Alexandra Morse with Carol Woodfield, who is a resident at Kanangra. Picture: Neil Richardson

RAISING AWARENESS: Aged Care Deloraine arts health coordinator Alexandra Morse with Carol Woodfield, who is a resident at Kanangra. Picture: Neil Richardson

Ms Groot said in recent years, there had been a fall in the number of children affected and a sharp rise in epilepsy in the elderly. 

Ms Woodfield, of Deloraine, has lived at Kanangra since 2009. 

Although she can't remember her seizures, she said she didn't feel scared once they were over, but was left with a headache. 

Ms Woodfield is medicated, and said she still had seizures often, but less than when she was younger.

She said she "felt funny" when she first received the epilepsy diagnosis as a teenager. 

"It's come and gone, but it stays there with me," Ms Woodfield said.

She said she was aware of one other Kanangra resident with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Tasmania is eager to raise awareness around epilepsy risk for older Tasmanians, and epilepsy being co-morbid with other health conditions.

Research has found conditions and illnesses including depression, anxiety, dementia, heart disease and arthritis are up to eight times more common in people with epilepsy.  

Ms Woodfield said there needed to be more community awareness around the condition.

"I think the [open garden] is good ... to let everybody know [about epilepsy]."

She feels hopeful raising awareness will help others who are on an epilepsy journey. 

March is International Epilepsy Awareness Month. 

The open garden for epilepsy event will be held at Kanangra at 10 Kanangra Drive, which is off Tower Hill Street at Deloraine on Saturday, March 18 between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Donations are requested upon entry, with money going to Epilepsy Tasmania. Gold coin donations for Devonshire tea and a sausage sizzle which will go towards Aged Care Deloraine arts for health programs.

There will be market stalls, including an Epilepsy Tasmania stall, and garden demonstrations and music.