ADHD in Middle and Senior years

I've not been able to read the entire collection of comments on this site. So I will, first, apologize if my topic is a redundant one. I'm looking for information on managing ADHD in the senior years. We both have concerns about the side effects and risks associated with medicating. My husband did not want to work with Adderall due to risks and the side effects experienced when he tried it at age 40. His diagnosis was "Moderate ADHD". Does someone have experience with managing ADHD in the senior years? I think it is fair to expect that things may only grow worse for us as we face the challenges of aging along with the problems ADHD creates. Thanks for any advice.

adhd in the senior years

My husband was diagnosed almost 4 years ago at age 58 with severe adhd. He has been off the charts in terms of his hyperactivity and distractedness the whole time we've been married (25 years). It was only when we received the definitive diagnosis did we understand what has been happening all this time. He was a successful elementary school teacher and athlete (retired from both) but had serious problems interacting with other adults. Also a hellish family history. Not surprisingly the marriage has taken a real beating. After some trial medications, he has settled on Concerta and gets the best results with no side effects. He takes 108 mg a day to smooth things out. We have our worst times when it wears off. He is now over 60 and I am 62. Even with the medication he is far more hyper than anyone else his age we know but, as you might expect, I have begun to slow down. This continues to create a widening gap. The adhd brain just doesn't seem to downshift, even with age. The only thing I can do is remove myself when my husband gets spinny. He still has trouble prioritizing; everything is given equal urgent importance. New tasks take precedence over old unfinished ones. Everything is a shiny new interest to pursue. I know this doesn't offer much encouragement but this condition is so powerful it can override everything else, in all aspects of a relationship. All I can suggest is you face it head-on and figure out ways to protect yourself from it's most damaging effects. In our case, we have come to realize we will probably never have a super-close marriage. It's just too uncomfortable for me, the non-adhd spouse, and he cannot change his wiring. We play the cards we were dealt. My empathies are with you.


Janet B's picture

adhd in the senior years

Thank you for your post as I have found it somewhat comforting perhaps because you and I are rather close in age and both have been married for a long time.  My husband has not been diagnosed, but we both think he has ADHD.  Over the past 6 months or so I have been puzzling over why I am so frustrated and unhappy in my marriage (and have been for years) and why we can't seem to get along despite much marriage counseling and antidepressant medication (for both of us). I came to the conclusion that it wasn't about trying harder or we certainly would have figured out how to make our marriage work by now.  I wondered why there is SO much conflict and confusion in our communication constantly and why are we both so unhappy?  We have been married for 35 years.  I am 56 and my husband is 57.  I am halfway through The ADHD Effect on Marriage and read some of it to my husband yesterday. (I asked if I could read some of it and he said yes. I asked him if he thought he had ADHD and he said yes.  One doctor told him it wasn't ADHD, just a bad habit of rushing.  One of our marriage counselors is a clinical psychologist, yet the issue of potential ADHD never came up.)  I am having a hard time finding a therapist or doctor in our area whom my husband can go to for testing or any support groups in my area.  To be honest, I have given up hope that my life could ever be different than what it is.  I hate to dare to hope only to be disappointed yet again. 

Janet B


Hi Gayle and Janet,

Thank you both for responding about ADHD in the Middle and Senior years. Each time I log my 50-something self onto here I read that almost every frustration I've felt has been articulated by someone else. While it is comforting to know that I am not alone (nor crazy--it's his ADHD) I am in the grieving stage. (Accepting the blows of ADHD for the rest of my life and facing tons of experimentation and work that, if done at all (largely his choice), may only reduce the severity.) I now understand why I have thought, "he'll be the death of me". This could really be true and it's deeply depressing.  I am glad to see younger couples "getting it" and the knowledge becoming more widely available. 


Similar Frustrations

Hello Janet: Our situations do sound very similar. Here are the Coles notes on what we did starting 4 years ago: In response to my ultimatum, my husband got a referral from his family doctor to see a psychiatrist. Initial testing and assessment confirmed our suspicions. A trial medication regimen was begun with less than optimum results. He was then referred to a therapist who specializes in adhd (mostly children but adults too) while he tried different meds. That didn't work out so good either. We were then referred to another physician whose practice includes patients with adhd. This doctor prescribed Concerta but it took months to get the dosage right. None of these medical "experts" seemed very well versed on adult adhd so we kept looking and pursuing leads.  Patience and persistence is key. Once we found that Concerta was the most effective medication then came locating a qualified therapist as my husband and I have had years of serious issues (particularly around communication) to deal with. I nearly walked away a couple of times. There are no qualified therapists in our region so we decided to look in another city and we found a fellow who has expertise with adult adhd. My husband has been going to see him once weekly for at least 6 months, driving an hour each way. This is not covered by insurance but this has saved a marriage that was in tatters. This combined with the meds. It is a long difficult journey but, as my husband puts it, it's as if he is wearing a new pair of glasses. He sees the world and people in an entirely different way. He has taken responsibility for what he needed to and is now working on changing old habits. We aren't out of the woods yet but there is reason to believe we can salvage the relationship. We have had to discard old notions of the "perfect partnership" and instead are recreating something that will work while also accommodating for the adhd. It is always going to be there. The first book we read together was Melissa's so I highly recommend that you use it frequently and revisit chapters along the way. Tell your spouse this might be the most important thing he ever does for himself and everyone who cares about him. And feel free to ask me about anything. We've been through it all!

Best regards, Gayle

Senior years in ADHD Marriage

We have known for many years that my husband has or "is" ADHD. My son also has it. And now I wonder what my life would have been like had I not been surrounded with ADHD and functioned as a second brain. I am 62 and I am slowing down and pulling back. Quite frankly I'm tired. And yet like a fish in water I can't imagine what it would be like to not be in this environment. But I do wonder where this goes, my growing exhaustion with the next thing and the next thing and the next thing and the unfinished things and the drama. I just want some peace and simple intimacy and reliability of communication. It's not that I can't take anymore it's just that I am asking is this the way I want to continue to live? I want to be clear about what I am choosing. I didn't know he was ADHD when I married him. So I didn't choose this. With my son it is different, he's my son, grown now and living on his own.