Many people are familiar with the commonality of ADHD in children. However, what many people do not realize, including some doctors, is that there is a large number of adults with ADHD who have yet to be treated.
About 4 to 5 percent of U.S. adults have it, according to Web MD. However, unfortunately, few adults get diagnosed or treated for it.
Furthermore, because more research revolves around the symptoms of children with ADHD, knowledge on adults with ADHD is limited, making their more subtle symptoms harder to identify. This is especially true when it comes to diagnosing seniors with ADHD. Because of the cognitive decline that comes with ageing, symptoms that could point to ADHD such as forgetfulness and being distracted are easily misdiagnosed with elderly diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia that involve memory loss.
What is ADHD in the Elderly?
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is described as a mental health condition that is determined by analyzing a person’s behavior. For a person to be diagnosed with ADHD, they need to show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity that interferes with day-to-day functioning and/or development, according to Web MD.
Though both children and adults can be diagnosed with ADHD, the symptoms manifest themselves differently across age groups due to factors such as changing maturity and increased awareness of behavioral/societal expectations of the person. For example, young children with ADHD may demand extreme levels of activity, progressing to mild fidgeting in adolescence, and finally developing into a self-contained, constant state of restlessness.
What are the Symptoms of ADHD in Seniors?
As stated above, ADHD symptoms in older adults tend to be more subtle than in children so they can be difficult to notice. This is especially true when some of the symptoms overlap with other symptoms that are common in old age, or more specifically, Alzheimer’s Disease, or even Dementia. However, some specialists have come up with this list of ADHD symptoms in adults:
- Disorganization and problems prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Problems focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
- Problems following through and completing tasks
- Hot temper
- Trouble coping with stress
Some of these symptoms involving forgetfulness can falsely appear to be signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or cognitive decline in aging, when really, they are related to lack of attention rather than memory loss. For this reason, it is important to distinguish the ADHD symptoms from the effects of ageing and look at the overall picture. Looking into family history of ADHD, as well as noting whether the senior has had a life-long history of being unable to focus are helpful tactics that can steer you in the right direction for effective treatment.
Talk to Your Doctor: Look into ADHD Tests for Seniors
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might have untreated ADHD, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to address the issue and receive an official diagnosis. It is important to provide your doctor with as much context and information as possible to give them a better understanding of where you’re coming from. Try to be as detailed as possible, and if you do have a life-long history of inattention or a family history of ADHD, bring this up as well. Your doctor should then do a thorough assessment to determine whether you can be diagnosed with ADHD or not.
Treatment: ADHD Medication for Adults and Therapy
If you or your loved one are diagnosed with ADHD, your doctor will offer a few different treatment options. While ADHD medication is known to be very effective in lessening the negative symptoms of ADHD, it is also a stimulant. For seniors with cardiac or blood pressure problems, the doctor will want to get those conditions sorted out before possibly describing a stimulant.
Other options include Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and marital counseling/ family therapy that can help with the following:
- Improve your time management and organizational skills
- Learn how to reduce your impulsive behavior
- Develop better problem-solving skills
- Cope with past academic, work or social failures
- Improve your self-esteem
- Learn ways to improve relationships with your family, co-workers and friends
- Develop strategies for controlling your temper
Have a discussion with your doctor as to which treatment option would work best for you, as well as what they would recommend. Remember that it is never too late to get an ADHD diagnosis, start treatment, or start making adjustments that improve you or your loved one’s quality of life.
Keep Safe—Stay Securely Strapped in with the Best Stairlifts for Your Home
Stair lifts can help prevent accidents on the stairs for seniors that have ADHD, or really anyone that struggles with mobility issues and/or climbing up staircases. Because seniors are already prone to injuries from falling on the stairs, disorders such as ADHD can increase their risk of falling. For example, if a senior with ADHD is climbing the stairs and gets distracted, failing to solidly plant their foot on a step, a simple misstep could turn into a fatal fall.
Acorn stairlifts are customized to fit your unique needs and staircases, whether indoor or outdoor, curved or straight, or wide or narrow. Stairlifts for seniors, the disabled, and anyone with mobility issues are the ultimate safety solution for overcoming the steepest of stairs. Acorn stairlifts keep you safely strapped in when traveling up or down the stairs, giving you full access to the home you love while keeping you safe.