ADHD/ADD and Older People—part 2. 

Moving on with suggestions for older people with these conditions, the older person needs to learn to use her or his already developed skills.  An older person, especially if she or he is not taking medication for ADHD/ADD, should find alternative ways of helping herself or himself focus, organize, entertain, and reduce over stimulation.

Here are some tips:

  1. Understand that you need to focus, and that you may have difficulty, and that you may go in and out.  So, go with the flow.  Seek help where you can—from a partner, friend, or child.
  2. Understand the way you organize.  It may not be the most productive way, and sometimes it should be tweaked.  But it also has its own strengths.  You may go through flurries of organizing with periods of frustration and giving up.  You may “circle,” rather than come at tasks directly.  Seek help from anyone and from any tool.  Understand and accept that you may make mistakes.  You might want to ask  others to review your work.
  3. Accept that you need to be “entertained.”  You need stimulation, so go for it.  But don’t exhaust yourself or your partner.  Pick activities at which you can succeed and don’t overdo it.
  4. Understand you may need periods of rest.  Sit Quietly.  Meditate. Take a short nap. Don’t overstress.
  5. Accept that you may have cycles of depression.  There may be no external causes. Tell your partner, family, and friends.  Accept that you may be impulsive and/or inappropriate at times.  Tell people you have ADHD or ADD.  Apologize beforehand, afterwards.
  6. Go to a CHADD group or a support group, either live or online.
  7. See a therapist familiar with ADHD/ADD in older people.   Bring your partner and other family members.
  8. See your physician if a medication assessment is warranted.  Proceed with her or him carefully, as medications may have stronger and/or paradoxical effects as you get older.
  9. Don’t abuse substances as a way of self-medicating.
  10. Talk to the director of nursing and the social service director if you are in residential care.
  11. Remember that you may also need to pay attention to the fact you may not be hearing as well as you used to
  12. Accept yourself, your limitations and your strengths, which may include multi-tasking.

Good luck!



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