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Younger onset dementia

Younger onset dementia
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Younger onset dementia

Dementia mainly affects older people. The term younger onset dementia is used to describe any form of dementia that develops in people under the age of 65. Dementia has been diagnosed in people in their 50s, 40s and even in their 30s.

Younger onset dementia is similar to other types of dementia in many ways. The same problems generally occur but it can have a different impact, because it appears when people are more likely to be employed fulltime, be raising a family or be financially responsible for a family.

Younger onset dementia can be difficult to diagnose, mainly because the person affected seems too young.

The symptoms of dementia are similar regardless of age of onset.

Anybody who suspects they have younger onset dementia should see their doctor. An early diagnosis is important because it allows for early planning and early access to support, information and possibly medication.

Many conditions can produce symptoms that are similar to dementia, such as vitamin and hormone deficiencies, depression, medication, infections and brain tumours. Telling the difference between these conditions and dementia may involve:

  • a detailed medical history
  • a thorough physical and neurological examination
  • pathology tests
  • brain imaging
  • a psychiatric assessment
  • a neuropsychological assessment.

There are many types of dementia. Each type has its own symptoms, signs and findings when investigated, and is caused by a specific type of change in the brain. The most common type of younger onset dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Australia website has information about the different types of dementia, and the Younger Onset Dementia Association website is also very useful.

What happens after a diagnosis of younger onset dementia?

A diagnosis of younger onset dementia can come as a shock. The person affected, and their family and friends, may all feel angry or sad. They might not believe it. There can be a huge sense of loss. These feelings are normal.

But help and support is available, and it is better to get it earlier than later. Alzheimer’s Australia is a good place to start. The organisation can explain what is happening as well as provide emotional support, information, education and counselling.

Alzheimer’s Australia also coordinates support groups throughout Australia. Some of these groups are specifically for carers of people with younger onset dementia, such as the Living with Memory Loss group. Support groups can provide comfort and practical assistance for carers, relatives and friends of people with dementia.

Find out more by visiting the Alzheimer’s Australia website or calling the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

You may also like to contact the Younger Onset Dementia Association for more information, and there is a Younger Onset Dementia Support Group on Facebook.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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Alzheimer's Australia | Early planning and younger onset dementia

People with younger onset dementia and their families often face significant changes to their financial situation. The person with dementia may still be in full employment when diagnosed or when the symptoms of dementia make working too much to manage. The person with younger onset dementia may be responsible for a family, have a mortgage and other financial responsibilities.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | What is younger onset dementia?

What is younger onset dementia? Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a persons mental functioning. It is a broad term which describes symptoms such as loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and normal emotional reactions. The term younger onset dementia is usually used to describe any form of dementia diagnosed in people under the age of 65.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | Employment and younger onset dementia

When someone has been diagnosed with dementia it is an upsetting time for the individual and for those close to them. If the person has been diagnosed with a younger onset dementia they may still be in full employment at the time of the diagnosis. They may still be responsible for a family, have a mortgage and other financial responsibilities.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | I have younger onset dementia

The pages below provides a range of information, ideas for you to consider and suggest types of support that Alzheimers Australia can offer you. Services and programs Support services The Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

The National Younger Onset Dementia Keyworker Program: Provides individualised services and support for people living with younger onset dementia, their families and carers. Raises awareness of younger onset dementia through the provision of education to WA health networks and local community. Builds capacity to meet the needs of younger onset dementia within the disability, aged care, community and residential care sectors through consultation, networking and collaboration with service providers and consumers.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program

The National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program provides individualised information and support to improve the quality of life for people with younger onset dementia. This program expands on the National Dementia Support Program and is being funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing under the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | Services available for people with Younger Onset Dementia

The task of living with or caring for someone with younger onset dementia can be difficult, and at times feel overwhelming. However, there are a number of organisations which provide services to help both the person living with dementia and their carers continue caring for people with dementia at home.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimer's Australia | About dementia

Information The information in this section defines dementia, describes the symptoms and causes of dementia and explains the difference between normal memory problems and dementia. What is dementia? What is younger onset dementia?

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Alzheimer's Australia | Dementia-Friendly Communities

A dementia-friendly community is a place where people living with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value. For people with younger onset dementia, this also means being given the opportunity and support to stay at work or volunteer.

Read more on Alzheimer's Australia website

Alzheimers disease

Alzheimers disease is a form of dementia.

Read more on WA Health website

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