An Overview of Younger People With Dementia

Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease and More

Although the risk for dementia increases with age and generally affects older people, an estimated 200,000 people in the US younger than 65 are living with dementia. Early-onset dementia, also called working age-onset and younger-onset, is attributed to Alzheimer's disease in about one-third of cases.

Other types of dementia that are common in younger people include:

Symptoms of dementia may also appear in young people due to cooccurring conditions or issues, including thyroid disorders, medication side effects and interactions, brain tumors, or subdural hematomas - but these symptoms can be reversed if identified and properly treated.

Man with forms sitting at a laptop receiving instruction from a woman standing at his side
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc Blend Images /  Getty Images

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 and Support

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.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Alzheimer’s Association. 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimers Dement 2019;15(3):321-87.

Additional Reading

By Christine Kennard
 Christine Kennard is a psychiatric nurse practicing in the United Kingdom and co-author of "Alzheimer's Disease: An A-Z For New Caregivers."