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#EpilepsyAwareness: Financial concerns in epilepsy care

Readers Lounge By Fredrick Beuchi Mboya
Epilepsy can affect a person's ability to work and care for themselves (Shutterstock)

Just about every family worries about money and being able to take care of any member of the family with special needs.

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A study by healthtalk.org showed that people with poorly-controlled epilepsy often felt that they could not work in rather stressful higher paid occupations thus their earning power was limited.

However, many people with well-controlled epilepsy and in full-time employment said that their condition did not affect them financially.

If a family member has epilepsy, you may need to figure out priorities, identify gaps, and get help to fill those gaps. Consider this:

  • If you have epilepsy and are working, does having epilepsy affect your job and your income? Do you have a backup plan for what to do financially if you can't work?
  • What are the resources you need if you can't work? Are you eligible for disability? Will this meet your needs?
  • If your spouse, partner or parent has epilepsy, if they can't work, how will that affect the family's needs and financial stability? Do you have a backup plan?
  • If your child has epilepsy, how does this affect your family finances? Consider extra care and services they may need. What out-of-pocket expenses will you have?
  • If any family member has epilepsy, does that affect your ability to work? Do you need to take time off to care for your family member? What impact will that have? What additional costs to you will there be?

Why is financial planning important in the management of epilepsy?

When you or someone you love has a chronic health problem, it is likely there will be out-of-pocket health care expenses.

Depending on the severity or type of epilepsy and associated conditions, there may be other additional health needs. All the same, these needs cost money to meet.

Also, epilepsy and other health problems can affect a person's ability to work and care for themselves.

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Epilepsy can be disabling at times. You may need to find out what resources are available for you or the family member who is disabled.

It's important to think about the present while also planning for the future. You may not know what direction or course the epilepsy may take over time.

- The writer is the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC) National Secretary (Kenya), and an Epilepsy Awareness ambassador

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