Grandma Has Adhd Too

By: Sarah Jane Keyser

I was 57 when I found a name for what made my life different. I discovered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) reading "Shadow Syndromes" by Dr. John Ratey. His description of the Inattentive type of ADHD was a revelation. I went "Wow! That's it !" It explained so many things about my life.

I did quite well in school, but I know I could have done better if I had been able to control my dreamy brain. Life was a blur. I was always a little out of it, wondering what was I missing. I was never in on the joke. I thought that when I grew up I would be able to plan, to get organized, to stop procrastinating and get things done.

It didn't happen. As an adult I continued to be spacey and lost in my own world. My big problem was communicating. I never knew what to say. I had ideas rushing around in my head, but when I opened my mouth they all evaporated.

My children grew up but I didn't seem to have much to do with it. I had difficulty paying attention to them. I would respond absent mindedly, instead of with my full attention.

They did grow up and now I have a lovely granddaughter. Now knowing how ADHD affects me and with medication and coaching, I can pay attention to her, and we have great conversations.

Yes, I still have piles of stuff and I procrastinate, but now that I am connected to the world, I can mange life as it comes.

If my story resonates with you, you might have ADHD too. Do you think you're too old for ADHD? Never!

We've learned a lot in recent years, and one of the most important things we've discovered, is that ADHD often does not go away as you grow up. The good news is that now there are many things you can do about it, so let's look at where you can start.

Read to understand ADHD. Learn all you can about ADHD; what it is, and what it isn't. Many good books share what we've learned. Look for wonderful authors like Sari Solden or Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Ratey. You can start your search on the Internet at the ADDA Web site, http://www.add.org , or at the CHADD National Resource Center, http://www.help4adhd.org/. If you have difficulty reading (many people with ADHD do), look for audio books.

Get a medical evaluation. It's important to find a doctor with ADHD experience, and not just any doctor. A knowledgeable doctor will look for other potential problems like depression and anxiety, and will help you find the best treatment. Medication can be very effective for controlling key ADHD symptoms.

Eat well. As we grow older, our bodies are less efficient at absorbing the nutrients we need. Eat four or five small meals a day containing both protein and carbohydrates, the essential ingredients your brain needs to function at its best.

Exercise within your capacity. Go for walks in the park, on green grass, under trees. Green space is good for ADHD. Treat your grandchildren. Take them with you to watch the squirrels, listen to the birds, kick dead leaves in the fall and watch the flowers come up in the spring.

Tackle the chaos. A big problem with ADHD is disorder. You may have piles of stuff, paper, old clothes. The clutter drains your energy and weighs on your conscience. It's worth making the effort to clear it up. If you find this difficult, and you probably will, ask for help, a friendly neighbor, a daughter or even a grandchild someone with patience and a sense of humor. The presence of another person, what we call a body double, can make the task easier.

Tips for managing ADHD

1. Learn about ADHD

2. Get medical support

3. Eat well

4. Exercise with grandchild

5. Get organized

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