Updated: December 23rd, 2019
Whether it’s an ADHD spouse, an ADHD roommate, or even a relative with ADHD – living with someone who has ADHD is always a challenging task.
But, it’s possible to make the most of your living situation by following these 5 best tips…
Tip 1. Try to imagine yourself in their shoes
If you personally don’t have ADHD, it can be really hard to imagine yourself in the position of someone who does have ADHD.
So, try this quick exercise:
> Imagine that you want to live a productive, energetic and happy life. And, you generally KNOW what you should be doing to achieve your goals. But, something in your brain makes it extremely difficult for you to take the proper actions that lead you towards your goals.
This is ADHD in a nutshell.
You know what you should be doing, while simultaneously feeling a “brain fog” when it comes time to actually deliver on your promises or goals.
This type of “mental resistance” is really difficult for ordinary people to empathize with. But, it’s a reality that people with ADHD must live with.
People with ADHD generally want to make your living situation a positive one.
But, it’s often hard for people with ADHD to live a functional life.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to this problem. But, there are a LOT of healthy habits that can make your living situation a better one (see the next tip)…
Tip 2. Encourage healthy habits
In my experience, using ADHD medication can (temporarily) solve many problems associated with ADHD.
It’s not a perfect solution by any means.
But, using ADHD medication will normally make it easier for someone with ADHD to:
- Focus on work
- Pay bills on time
- Dedicate time to relationships and friendships
- Exercise every day
- Keep organized
- Maintain a clean living space
Of course, there are many other healthy habits that can improve ADHD symptoms, like exercising, eating healthy food, and using natural remedies.
At the end of the day, it’s not your responsibility to ensure that the person with ADHD in your life takes control of their condition.
But, if you’d like to serve as a positive influence, you can always encourage healthy habits such as these.
Tip 3. Define clear roles for responsibilities
Setting up something as simple as a whiteboard in your living room can make living with someone with ADHD incredibly easier.
You can use a whiteboard to list “daily checkboxes” for shared responsibilities like doing laundry, taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, cleaning, and more.
Here’s the whiteboard that I recommend using:
The above whiteboard comes with everything that you need to begin clearly defining responsibilities in your household.
If you can afford to split the costs of a professional cleaning service – that’s another option that can remove a lot of stress from your living situation.
But either way, it’s extremely important to define the responsibilities that allow your household to function smoothly.
Tip 4. Communicate in a healthy and productive way
I know it’s easy to feel angry at people with ADHD for acting in the way that they do.
But, people with ADHD have been shamed and blamed for many years – and deal with enough guilt, anger, and trauma as it is.
So, it’s actually in your best interest to communicate with people with ADHD in a healthy and productive way.
For example, rather than shaming someone with ADHD for forgetting to perform a certain task – try asking them to schedule a reminder on their smartphone next time.
Or, you could encourage the person with ADHD to use one of the many mobile apps that help with ADHD.
Remember that the goal is always to empathize with people with ADHD, and make it clear that you genuinely want them to succeed.
This is a healthy form of communication that reinforces positive behaviors, and sheds light on negative behaviors that show room for improvement.
Tip 5. Don’t stress too much
There’s only so much that you can do to influence someone’s behavior.
Change ultimately has to come from within.
So, the person in your life with ADHD has to desire change in order for real change to happen.
Because, if they don’t actually want to change, there unfortunately isn’t much that you can do, besides consider an alternative living arrangement.
If your roommate has ADHD, then you could always consider living in your own apartment or home as soon as that’s a possibility.
If your significant other has ADHD, this is more difficult to deal with, and could require professional assistance in the form of therapy, coaching, or a similar service.
Either way – there’s still no reason for you to stress too much over your living situation.
Just focus on controlling what you can, and letting go of the things that you have no control over.
Life’s so much better when you focus on the things that you have control over. This is also called developing an internal locus of control.
As someone with ADHD, I’ve dealt with roommates and relationships where my ADHD definitely had a negative influence on our living situation.
So, I have an honest perspective on how you can make the most of living with someone with ADHD, and figure out a way to make your living situation work.
It isn’t going to be easy.
There will be obstacles to overcome.
But, you can usually find a way to make it work. I promise you that.
And, if you and your ADHD cohabitant are really willing to put in some effort, you might even be able to create an amazing living situation that provides mutual happiness for years to come.