Younger Onset DementiaSymptoms, Types and Giving Support

It’s important to get information on the symptoms of dementia, the different causes and types of the condition, and proper support to deal with it.

Dementia likely occurs in the later years of older people. But what if a person is diagnosed with dementia younger than the age of 65? 

Understanding Younger Onset Dementia

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Younger onset dementia is a term used to describe any form of dementia in people under 65 years old. At times, it’s called early-onset dementia, but to avoid confusion with the early stages of the illness, most prefer the terms, “younger-onset” and “working age” dementia. 

The same kinds of symptoms generally occur in this kind of dementia. But it may have a different impact on people in their 30s, 40s, or 50s.

In Australia, one out of 13 people with dementia has younger onset dementia. And although there is no cure yet, some people may respond to treatments to improve the quality of life.  

What are the symptoms of younger onset dementia?

It can be challenging to diagnose the symptoms of younger onset dementia in most people before the age of 65. Some symptoms can also correspond to a person with underlying conditions.

To get a diagnosis, it’s important that at least two types of disabilities listed below must be experienced.

Find it difficult to make decisions

Because younger onset dementia makes one lose the ability to complete the thinking process, a person may often find problems in making decisions.

Sudden withdrawal from social activities

With lesser cognitive and communication skills, younger people with dementia tend to withdraw from attending social gatherings and stop their search for new hobbies.

Display memory loss and confusion

A person with early dementia finds it hard to hold a train of thought properly and becomes forgetful. Memory loss is a common symptom.

Report difficulties in learning new things

Short-term memory impairments make it challenging to learn new things.

Demonstrate vision depth and volume problems

It’s common for a person to mis-reach an object in front of them or see printed words float around a page.

Find changes in personality and mood swings

Sudden mood swings, reduced emotional intelligence, aggression, and a lack of personal care develop as symptoms over time.

Exhibits signs of depression

Depression can develop as they search for the cause of their declining mental health.

Common Types of Younger Onset Dementia

Typically, a patient can be diagnosed with one or more forms of these kinds of dementia. Additional types of dementia can develop at a later stage, or multiple types of dementia can be diagnosed at once.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's is the most common type. An unusual type of Alzheimer’s Disease known as “a typical Alzheimer’s Disease” is the most common type of young-onset dementia. Another rare form is called “familial Alzheimer’s Disease,” where symptoms begin showing between the ages of 30 to 50.

Vascular Dementia

This form of dementia is the result of blood circulation problems to the brain. According to research, approximately 20% of younger patients also have vascular dementia. There are two types of vascular dementia: multi-infarct dementia and Binswanger's disease.

Frontotemporal Dementia

It is a progressive loss of nerve cells in the frontal or temporal lobes. One cause is a brain disorder related to proteins. According to research, almost half of frontotemporal dementia has a family history of the illness and approximately 12% of patients with younger onset dementia also have frontotemporal dementia.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies

An abnormal deposit of alpha-synuclein causes this form of dementia, which affects brain chemicals. Around 10% of patients with younger onset dementia have Lewy body dementia. It is also found out that symptoms seem to worsen over time, which can significantly reduce the lifespan of the patient.

Korsakoff’s Syndrome

This type of illness is due to the lack of thiamine. It is found out that approximately 10% of young dementia patients have Korsakoff’s syndrome. With early diagnosis, a patient may need treatment involving high doses of thiamine to support the reversal of the symptoms.

Rare Forms of Dementia

These include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. According to research, around 20% of young dementia patients have this rare condition.

Here’s How to Plan the Future

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First, deal with the emotional shock from the diagnosis of dementia in younger people. After that, organising the person’s life, and giving practical help and support to manage dementia may also come as a priority. Here are some tips on how to plan the future.

Tip #01: Work situation

You may need to talk to your employer and ask for advice. As support, you can also ask for help with changes in your work responsibilities. Also, remember that it is unlawful for a company to terminate a person solely due to Alzheimer's or dementia.

Tip #02: Financial support

If eligible, a person can access support and assistance through a registered charity or other programs, like a disability pension and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Caregivers of a person with dementia may also be eligible for financial help.

Tip #03: Personal care plan and assisted living

Plan ahead for personal care services. There are many facilities around Victoria and all over Australia that often provide services that include many types of accommodation suitable for people with special requirements, like Delta Care.

Young people with dementia may go through assisted living in its aged care facilities in Templestowe and East Keilor, VIC. For more information, please contact us today if you need advice or further help.

Last Notes

It can be difficult for the family living with a dementia patient which is why it’s important to find more information about it early on.

Being diagnosed with younger onset dementia is not the end. Rather than dwelling on the negative side, focus on taking care of your health regardless of your age and still try living your life in the best way possible.

If you or any of your family members are experiencing one or more symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other forms, you may consider getting help from a doctor. The symptoms may turn out to be just slight changes in your health, hence it can put a stop to your worries.

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