Understanding How ADHD Affects Seniors

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While Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is often associated with children, it’s a condition that can also affect seniors. Since being easily distracted, disorganized or struggling to complete tasks can also be associated with other conditions often associated with age, many seniors with ADHD go undiagnosed.

Identifying ADHD in Seniors

ADHD is characterized by a general lack of focus. While it can be difficult to spot signs of the condition in children since most kids have a short attention span that’s considered perfectly normal, symptoms in adults can be more obvious to family members and live-in caregivers. Signs of ADHD in seniors may include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Poor listening skills
  • Leaving multiple tasks uncompleted
  • An inability to relax

Diagnosing ADHD in Seniors

Doctors often start the process of officially diagnosing a senior with ADHD by eliminating common age-related issues. Psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression, will also need to be ruled out since life changes like the death of a spouse or moving to a nursing home may also cause a lack of focus. Doctors may also take a look at medications a senior is currently taking to determine if symptoms could be side effects of any of those drugs.

Treating ADHD in Seniors

Common ADHD medications, such as Adderall and Focalin, may interact with medications seniors are already taking to manage other conditions. Consequently, psychotherapy techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy may be more helpful for seniors with ADHD. Seniors may also benefit from:

  • Completing tasks with friends or other family members to help retain focus
  • Using alarms and schedule reminder features on smartphones
  • Automating tasks, such as prescription refills and bill payments

ADHD always starts in childhood, but may have been overlooked for many years in seniors. Oftentimes, seniors and their loved ones don’t consider the possibility of adult ADHD until younger children in their family are diagnosed with the same disorder.

If your aging parent has trouble completing everyday tasks because of ADHD, Home Care Assistance can help. As a trusted provider of senior care in Vancouver, we match seniors with an experienced caregiver who can assist with everything from transportation to medication reminders. Find out more by calling (778) 279-3634 and speaking with a dedicated and friendly Care Manager today.


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