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How Early Can Early Onset Dementia Start

Do Treatments Add Time To Life Expectancy

early onset dementia

Experts simply dont know whether treatments help a person live longer with Alzheimers disease. AD and other similar dementias progress no matter what. Treatments like medications and therapies have been conclusively shown to help manage symptoms, meaning they make it easier to live with the disease, but they do not reverse symptoms. The memory of a person with dementia who takes medications like cholinesterase inhibitors, for example, will be slightly better than the memory of someone who is not on medication. Quality of life therefore improves with treatment. This means better years with dementia, but probably not more years.

Difficulties In Thinking Things Through And Planning

A person may get confused more easily and find it harder to plan, make complex decisions or solve problems.

How Common Is Dementia In Adults Under 65

Dementia can affect people as young as 30, although this is extremely rare. Most younger people with dementia are middle aged: in their 50s and early 60s. The term young onset dementia, or ‘early onset dementia’, or ‘working life dementia’ refers to people diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65.

You cant have dementia, youre too young.

A GP quoted in an Alzheimers Society report

In 2010 there were thought to be 64,037 people under 65 with dementia in the UK compared with just 16,737 in 1998. The majority of those affected in this younger age group 70 per cent are men. Younger people with dementia make up 8 per cent of the total number of people with dementia .

The chances of developing dementia before 65 are relatively small. Men aged between 30 and 59 have a 0.16 per cent chance for women it is 0.09 per cent. The chances increase slightly once a person reaches 60. Men aged between 60 and 64 have a 1.58 per cent chance of developing dementia for women it is 0.47 per cent. The chances of developing dementia are highest for people between 90 and 94 .

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What To Do For Early

It can be challenging to know what to do when a parent starts showing early signs of dementia.

Do you know what to do for early-onset dementia? Or, how to help someone with early symptoms of dementia?

Early-onset dementia is dementia that starts before someone turns 65, usually occurring around the age of 50. And since dementia is a progressive disease, your loved ones symptoms will get worse over time.

However, living with early-onset dementia doesnt need to be crippling. When it comes to helping someone with early dementia, there are steps you can take to ensure they can maintain their quality of life for many years.

For those looking for early-onset dementia care information, keep reading.

In this article, were providing expert insight on the topic of early-onset dementia. Youll get an answer to How early can dementia start? and get tips on how to help family members with dementia.

Heres everything you need to know about early-stage dementia treatment and care.

Difficulty Completing Normal Tasks

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A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.

Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

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Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

Want to know how to help someone with early dementia? Encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle in your loved one.

Some ways to help your loved one live a healthy life include:

  • Encouraging physical exercise, like taking walks
  • Driving them to/from social engagements
  • Identifying potentially stressful situations and offering your assistance
  • Playing fun, stimulating games with them

A healthy lifestyle will allow your loved one to live well for as long as possible. It will also help them keep any pre-existing medical conditions under control.

Dementia Signs And Symptoms

A long list of symptoms is associated with dementia, but many overlap with other health conditions, meaning that having some of them does not confirm that an individual is cognitively impaired.

That said, dont hesitate to consult a healthcare provider if you or a loved one is showing signs of dementia, which can be cognitive or psychological in nature:

  • Trouble remembering new information
  • Exhibiting signs of paranoia
  • Exercising poor judgment

Not everyone will notice these symptoms right away, and a checklist alone cant determine if a person has a dementia-related disorder. In fact, not even a test can do so.

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Young Onset Vs Early Stage

It’s important to know that term “young onset dementia” does not mean the early stage of dementia. While most people diagnosed with young onset dementia are likely experiencing mild symptoms that indicate they are in the early stage, “young onset” and “early stage” have different meanings. A 57-year-old living with young onset dementia could already be in the late stage, while a 80-year-old just diagnosed with dementia might be in the early stage.

It’s also important to note that young onset dementia encompasses all types of dementia. If a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease â the most common type of dementia âunder the age of 65, then that person can be said to have young onset Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, if a person is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia under 65, then that person has young onset frontotemporal dementia.

However, each person living with young onset dementia has their own preferred term to describe their dementia â ask them what they prefer!

You Struggle To Learn New Things

Early onset dementia

It can be tough to learn new skills, but people with dementia often have a particularly difficult time. If you have early-onset dementia, Zwerling says you might struggle with things like learning how to use a new tool, or when developing a new skill.

You might also notice that you’re suddenly struggling to work with numbers, or that you can’t easily develop or follow a plan. If these traits have always been part of your personality, then you probably don’t have to worry. But don’t hesitate to get more information about your health should these things seem out of the ordinary, or if they start to negatively impact your day.

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What Causes Younger Onset Dementia

Many different types of dementia can affect younger people. Each type has its own symptoms and is caused by a specific type of change in the brain. Some causes of early onset dementia are:

  • problems with blood flow to the brain
  • deterioration to the front part of the brain
  • chronic overuse of alcohol over many years

Early Signs Of Dementia Checklist

Signs of early onset dementia usually affect people in their 50s and early 60s. But is it really a dementia sign or is it just a something we do as we get older?

Signs of Dementia/Alzheimers:
Making a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budgetMissing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the seasonForgetting what day it is and remembering later
Difficulty having a conversationSometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find themLosing things from time to time

As dementia is a progressive neurological disorder, there are many stages and dementia symptoms. The changes are gradual, and this may give your parent time to receive an early diagnosis and to slow down the disease.

The first signs of dementia can be spotted before the symptoms make a big impact on day-to-day living and overall quality of life. For more information on the various stages of dementia, download our free and comprehensive dementia guide.

Sometimes dementia diagnosis can be difficult as there is no one simple test to carry out and early symptoms can be similar to the age-related changes listed above. Here are 10 early signs of Dementia to look out for.

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What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.

What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia

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Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.

Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.

For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.

The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.

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Who Diagnoses Dementia

The General Practitioner is usually the first contact when concerns about thinking or memory arise. The GP will take a medical history and may carry out a brief test of memory and concentration. If the GP is concerned about the possibility of dementia, the person may be referred to a specialist or specialist memory centre. It is important to remember that the choice of doctor is up to you so if after your visit you are still concerned and wish a referral to a specialist, you may wish to ask for a second opinion.

Specialists such as neurologists, geriatricians, psychogeriatricians, psychiatrists, and neuropsychologists have a more detailed knowledge of the memory and behaviour changes associated with dementia and may perform or arrange in-depth assessments, brain scans and blood tests. In Australia, a specialist must confirm the diagnosis of Alzheimers disease in order for you to be eligible for subsidised Alzheimers medications.

Aged Care Assessment Teams are multidisciplinary teams often comprised of social workers, occupational therapists, as well as nurses and doctors. ACATs are usually based in hospitals or regional community health centres. ACATs assess the health needs of ageing individuals, put the individual in contact with relevant services, make recommendations about the level of care required and approve eligibility for certain services.

Where To Get Help

  • Your local community health centre
  • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
  • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
  • My Aged Care 1800 200 422
  • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
  • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
  • Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centres Australian Government Tel. 1800 052 222
  • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

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What Causes Dementia To Progress So Quickly

Dementia symptoms are typically mild at first and progress over time to moderate and then severe, over several years. The speed as which dementia progresses varies between individuals, but some factors can cause dementia to progress more quickly. These include the persons age, the type of dementia, and other long term health problems. Dementia tends to progress more slowly in people over 65 compared to younger people below 65.

Talking With A Doctor

Early-Onset Dementia

After considering the persons symptoms and ordering screening tests, the doctor may offer a preliminary diagnosis or refer the person to a Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinic, neurologist, geriatrician or psychiatrist.Some people may be resistant to the idea of visiting a doctor. In some cases, people do not realise, or else they deny, that there is anything wrong with them. This can be due to the brain changes of dementia that interfere with the ability to recognise or appreciate the changes occurring. Others have an insight of the changes, but may be afraid of having their fears confirmed.One of the most effective ways to overcome this problem is to find another reason for a visit to the doctor. Perhaps suggest a check-up for a symptom that the person is willing to acknowledge, such as blood pressure, or suggest a review of a long-term condition or medication.Another way is to suggest that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any expressed anxiety by the person is an excellent opportunity to suggest a visit to the doctor. Be sure to provide a lot of reassurance. A calm, caring attitude at this time can help overcome the person’s very real worries and fears.Sometimes, your friend or family member may refuse to visit the doctor to ask about their symptoms. You can take a number of actions to get support including:

  • talking with other carers who may have had to deal with similar situations
  • contacting your local Aged Care Assessment Team

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Difficulty Finding The Right Words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Apathy Could Predict Onset Of Dementia Years Before Other Symptoms

Date:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Apathy — a lack of interest or motivation — could predict the onset of some forms of dementia many years before symptoms start, offering a ‘window of opportunity’ to treat the disease at an early stage, according to new research.

Apathy — a lack of interest or motivation — could predict the onset of some forms of dementia many years before symptoms start, offering a ‘window of opportunity’ to treat the disease at an early stage, according to new research from a team of scientists led by Professor James Rowe at the University of Cambridge.

Frontotemporal dementia is a significant cause of dementia among younger people. It is often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65. It changes behaviour, language and personality, leading to impulsivity, socially inappropriate behaviour, and repetitive or compulsive behaviours.

A common feature of frontotemporal dementia is apathy, with a loss of motivation, initiative and interest in things. It is not depression, or laziness, but it can be mistaken for them. Brain scanning studies have shown that in people with frontotemporal dementia it is caused by shrinkage in special parts at the front of the brain — and the more severe the shrinkage, the worse the apathy. But, apathy can begin decades before other symptoms, and be a sign of problems to come.

The research was largely funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome, and the National Institute for Health Research.

Story Source:

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Finding A Huge Gap In Services And Supports For Younger People

âI unfortunately ran into that brick wall where I was ineligible for just about everything because of my age.â â Faye.

Most social programs and services are designed for older people with dementia. In comparison, the number of programs designed for people living with young onset dementia is sparse.

People living with young onset dementia may not find the programs intended for older adults interesting or beneficial in respect to their needs. They may not feel comfortable in a seniorsâ program. And even if they were interested and comfortable in joining a program, they might be ineligible because of their age!

We have a gap in our knowledge about young onset dementia. As a result, there simply aren’t enough information, support, financial aid and services adapted for younger people living with dementia.

However, this is changing. The Young Onset Gap Analysis Project, initiated through the National Information Support and Education Committee and the Alzheimer Society of Canada , explored the gaps of available learning and support resources for people living with young onset dementia, and sought advice and feedback from those with lived experience.

The information from this report is being used to develop new resources dedicated to education and support for people living with young onset dementia, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.

Memory Loss That Impedes Daily Activities

What Do We Know About Early

The most noticeable symptom of Alzheimers disease is often memory loss. A person may start forgetting messages or recent events in a way that is unusual for them. They may repeat questions, having forgotten either the answer or the fact that they already asked.

It is not uncommon for people to forget things as they get older, but with early onset Alzheimers disease, this happens earlier in life, occurs more often, and seems out of character.

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Promoting Early Diagnosis Of Dementia

The early symptoms of dementia can include memory problems, difficulties in word finding and thinking processes, changes in personality or behaviour, a lack of initiative or changes in day to day function at home, at work or in taking care of oneself. This information does not include details about all of these warning signs, so it is recommended that you seek other sources of information. If you notice signs in yourself or in a family member or friend, it is important to seek medical help to determine the cause and significance of these symptoms.

Obtaining a diagnosis of dementia can be a difficult, lengthy and intensive process. While circumstances differ from person to person, Dementia Australia believes that everyone has the right to:

  • A thorough and prompt assessment by medical professionals,
  • Sensitive communication of a diagnosis with appropriate explanation of symptoms and prognosis,
  • Sufficient information to make choices about the future,
  • Maximal involvement in the decision making process,
  • Ongoing maintenance and management, and
  • Access to support and services.

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