Young onset dementia

Dementia beginning before the age of 65 is known as young onset dementia (YOD). Many people assume that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias only affect older people. However, about 1 person in every 1,000 under the age of 65 develops dementia.

Many people with YOD are in their 40s and 50s; they may:

  • Be working at the time of diagnosis
  • Have dependent children/parents living at home
  • Have significant financial commitments (mortgage, children university fees, etc.)
  • Be physically fit
  • Be more aware of their symptoms
  • Find it hard to accept losing skills
  • Find it difficult to get information, support and services adapted to younger people with dementia

Get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible

Getting an accurate diagnosis of young onset dementia can take a very long time, often due to lack of awareness that dementia can happen in younger people. It may be helpful to keep a symptom diary when you first suspect that something might be wrong and ask a family member to go with you to medical appointments. Here is a helpful tool to help you prepare for your doctor’s visit.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead can make it easier for you and your family to manage your affairs. You may be able to participate in planning for your future and make sure that your wishes are honoured.

Get tips and strategies related to young onset dementia.

People living with young onset dementia face unique challenges. In the webinar below, you will hear directly from two women living with young onset dementia, about their experiences working with the health care system, including their challenges and successes.

This webinar is facilitated by Dr Carole Cohen, geriatric psychiatrist, featuring Faye Forbes and Mary Beth Wighton, and brought to you by brainXchange in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA).

Last Updated: 05/08/17
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