Dementia or ADD (An "older fella's question as I'm 68)

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    • #81761

      I was diagnosed ADD in the ’80’s and have used Ritalin (methylphenidate) effectively. (Though oftentimes I’ll rely more on caffeine).

      With a lot of effort ADD is surmountable and I’m proof of that.

      Lately I have increased problems with memory, attention, distraction so much so it makes me wonder if I’m developing early Alzheimer’s. I’m working on my 4th college degree ad have done well in them with a GPA of 3.5/4 overall. Yet if you were to look at my transcript you can see the issues, especially in math, and with other courses and quite a few were “dropped out” or “repeated.” I did manage to get through a BS in chemistry only because the college waived Calculus, mainly because I did so well and used math well in discussions. But on paper…oh my.

      Now, at a age 68 I find myself “locked out” of continuing in a college program until I complete Statistics and I’m having such a hard time.

      So here is the specific question:

      Does ADD attention span, and certain forms of memory, as well as distractibility get worse for elders. (Note: call me an elder to my face and I’ll smack ya)

      By the way Kangkung means “water spinach” an Asian veggie that I enjoy.

    • #81950
      Uncle Dharma

      Hi there Kangkung,
      I think that distractibility can get worse, or harder to manage.
      My short-term memory is dreadful, but I can recall stuff that I read years ago.
      Recently, I have noticed that I am finding it harder to remember some details.

      I am 67 years old and on meds for about 10 years. Currently I am divorced, and retired.
      I am looking for a job, and this is mainly to get into a routine again.
      With a partner, and with kids, you are focussed and in a routine whether you want to be or not. There are things that HAVE to be done.

      I enjoy being on my own, but the lack of focus is an issue.
      Recently, I joined a dementia research project. No feedback yet.

    • #122333
      Oz Rob

      I am dealing with this issue with my 85 year old Dad. He has never been diagnosed with ADD but we all believe he has been living with it his entire life. My Mum was worries about dementia but we believe that it is regular age-related memory loss combined with the loss of structure and coping mechanisms. Forgetting where he parked his car, or what he went to the shop for is normal age-related memory loss (in fact it happens to me at 50!).

    • #122346

      Hello Kangkun. Yes memory issues do increase commonly as people age. Most often this is not dementia but normal increase in memory problems. It’s really a question of severity. Have the memory problems and distract ability gotten so much worse that they are getting in the way to f accomplishing everyday tasks of daily living. Are they interfering with your functioning. If they are you should probably see a specialist who has experience with ADHD and aging (including dementia). It might be tricky finding such a specialist.

      I couldn’t help but wonder about your history of math problems? Do these struggles with math go back into the elementary and high school grades. Possibly you have an underlying specific learning disability as well. If so then you’ve got three things going on that are overlapping.

    • #122347

      The three things overlapping: ADHD, specific math LD, and normal increase in memory problems with aging. In my experience ADHD acts like an amplifier. ADHD amplifies symptoms of other problems like anxiety or memory problems.

      The medication for ADHD is an important part of an effective intervention plan. It sounds like you were not taking the medication regularly.

    • #122393

      It Sounds like you’re experiencing normal age related memory issues rather than dementia. Have you contacted your colleges’ office of disability? Recently a specific learning disability has been discovered related specifically to math. Sort of like dyslexia only in the world of numbers rather than words.They might offer special tutoring.
      Just want to say how impressed I am that you’re working on another college degree st age 68. I finished a Masters at age 58…hang in there!

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