Many people assume that Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia only affect older people. In fact, about 1 person in every 1000 below the age of 65 develops dementia. While rare, it can affect people in their 40’s and 50’s. Any dementia beginning before the age of 65 is known as young onset dementia (or early onset).
Each person’s experience of dementia is unique. Although the symptoms of dementia are similar whatever a person’s age, younger people with dementia have different needs. They may:
- Be in work at the time of diagnosis
- Have dependent children still living at home
- Have financial commitments
- Be physically fit and behave in ways that other people find challenging
- Be more aware of their disease in the early stages
- Find it hard to accept and cope with losing skills at such a young age
- Find it difficult to access information, support and services for younger people with dementia
Planning ahead can make it easier for you and your family to manage your affairs. It can also mean that you may be able to participate in planning for your future and make sure that your wishes are carried out.
If you have been diagnosed with dementia get in touch with the Alzheimer association in your country to find out what help and support is available to you.