Living as an Older Adult with ADHD by Joan


As a woman nearing 60yrs, a young senior living with ADHD, it was important to me to be diagnosed late in life. This diagnosis became necessary as distractibility, time management, and persistent rejection sensitive dysphoria (RDS) unhinged me in both my academic and professional practice as a registered psychotherapist in Ontario. To the point of risking failure and losing my helping career. I leaned into CADDAC to find a community of support.

CADDAC championed my need for educational information and equipped me in my professional practice. I developed an individual work plan or IWP that addresses my blind spots. I recognize it takes courage, self awareness and determination to get a diagnosis. Tandem to my late in life ADHD diagnosis is an introspection of a legacy project, one for my two young adults also diagnosed with neurodivergent traits.

A vision for all individuals living with ADHD to honour their personal agency, their strengths along with impairing symptoms as learning opportunities. Motivated to shift from being deficit-based to leveraging attributes of hyperfocus, curiosity, a lover of learning, I maintain my superpowers of persistence advocacy. This second half of life has me questioning more rather than accepting the status quo, whether academic ADHD studies involving the aging brain and potential links between dementia and ADHD, seniors like myself need to address their fears with facts.

If ADHD does worsen with age, it bodes to self-equip, being flexible and fluid to adjust. I draw upon my sage age wisdom to pivot when necessary using spiritual strategies, like meditation and prayer, along with blue-green exercise (water and walks in nature) to be antidotes to keep me in my window of tolerance – slow down or speed up. Moreover, I believe at any age the choice of being self compassionate and to befriend our ADHD selves with loving kindness, enabling us to address the unexpecteds and inner critics as my own ally.

To be curious is to explore and discover, to take an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake. Curiosity is often described as novelty-seeking and being open to experience, and it’s associated with the natural desire to build knowledge. It is fulfilling to journey toward an answer, to engage in a new experience, or to learn a new fact.

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