Adult ADHD in the Elderly
Although there is very little research on adult ADHD in the elderly, a high percentage of adults with the disorder will still have the condition as they head into their golden years. By the time they reach their senior years, adults with ADHD may also suffer from other medical problems or diseases — including dementia, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer — which may mimic or mask the symptoms of ADHD.
Prescription Drugs and the Elderly
Although people over age 65 make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 30 percent of prescription drug prescriptions. Many seniors are very sensitive to drugs, may eliminate them more slowly, and may require lower or less frequent dosages.
Because of forgetfulness and memory problems, they may also take too much medication accidentally. The use of weekly or monthly pill boxes can be a great memory aid for seniors suffering from adult ADHD.
If you suspect that you or a senior citizen you love is suffering from adult ADHD, a medical expert who specializes in gerontology can help distinguish common diseases and/or normal signs of aging from the symptoms of adult ADHD.
Early research indicates that Ritalin, a drug prescribed for adult ADHD, may help prevent falls in the elderly and in patients with Parkinson's disease. Although the study was too small to warrant the widespread prescription of Ritalin, its results suggest that treating cognitive defects associated with aging and diseases like ADHD may decrease falls in the elderly.