VIDEO: What's different about Young Onset Dementia?

Posted Oct 19th, 2020

"What makes young onset dementia different?  Take a minute to find out."

"I'm Dr. Nicole Didyk of The Wrinkle and I'm a board certified Geriatrician.

What makes young onset dementia different is that it comes on before the age of sixty five. It accounts for 40 to100 of all one hundred thousand cases of dementia. And the most common cause is Alzheimer's disease.

But it can also be caused by a vascular dementia like in a stroke or could be related to alcohol use or frontotemporal dementia.

There are three things that make young onset dementia particularly challenging. One thing is that the care partners of people living with dementia at a young age are young themselves. So we often see children or young adults struggling to balance normal responsibilities of a young person along with being a caregiver. And a lot of the traditional caregiving supports aren't really applicable to young people.

People who are living with dementia at a young age could still be in the workforce.

So you know how difficult it is to get accommodation for disabilities in many workplaces. And that can be even more difficult when the illness is brain based or related to mental health like dementia is. We know that staying at work can be therapeutic and very meaningful to people living with dementia. But finding the right kind of accommodation and keeping that accommodation going as the disease progresses can be very challenging when it comes to young onset dementia.

The diagnosis is often delayed because we don't always think of dementia in a younger person. We often spend a lot of time ruling out other things before we settle on the correct diagnosis. This can be confusing and can cost a lot of time and money. For some people living with young onset dementia, genetic testing is very valuable and can be valuable for their family members as well. I hope you found this little bit of information about young onset dementia helpful.

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