Younger People with Dementia (Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease)

Man with Younger Onset Dementia and His Family
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc Blend Images/ Getty Images

Although the risk of dementia increases with age, many thousands of people under the age of 65 have received a diagnosis of dementia. There are a number of terms used to describe the onset of dementia in younger people. They include:

  • Younger Dementia
  • Working Age Dementia
  • Early Onset Dementia
  • Younger People With Dementia

Roughly a third of young people with dementia have Alzheimer's disease. Other types of dementia that are common in younger people include:

Conditions such as thyroid disorders, medication side effects and interactions, brain tumors, and subdural hemotomas can cause symptoms of dementia in younger people but may be reversible if identified and treated promptly. 

Specific Issues of Early Onset Dementia

As symptoms of dementia occur before the age of 65 and can, very rarely, be as early as the mid-thirties, younger people with dementia have a number of very specific issues. Most, if not all, will be employed and will have financial commitments such as mortgages. They may have young families. They will probably be fit and active. Specifically they may struggle to find a specialist service that is equipped for the needs of early onset dementia.

Diagnosis & Support for Early Onset Dementia

Relatively few specialist services exist for younger people with dementia.

One of the first problems for younger people with Alzheimer's disease is confusion over diagnosis. Often the early symptoms of dementia can appear similar to depression, for example. As symptoms develop the family doctor has to make a decision about where to turn for more specialist advice. Depending on where you live you may then be referred to a psychiatrist, a geriatrician, a neurologist or various combinations of health professionals.

Specialist groups like the Alzheimer's Association campaign for better services and are able to provide support and advice for young men and women with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

Resources for Younger People with Dementia


Alzheimer's Association. Younger/Early Onset Alzheimer's & Dementia. Accessed September 28, 2015.

Young Dementia UK. Alzheimer's Disease. Accessed September 30, 2015.

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