Dementia is a general term used to describe the deterioration of mental functionality, such as memory, language and judgement. Age is the greatest risk factor for dementia, the condition affects one in 14 people over the age of 65, and rises steeply to one in six over the age of 80. Early onset dementia describes a range of conditions which affect memory and thinking in people under the age of 65.
While the disease is not prevalent in people under 65, there have been cases of dementia being diagnosed in people in their 50s, 40s and even 30s. Due to the uncommon nature of the condition, early onset dementia can be difficult to diagnose, even when signs of early dementia are present.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of early onset dementia are serious and can have a profound effect on the sufferer and their friends and family. The sense of loss for people can be enormous.
Symptoms and signs of early dementia include:
- Memory problems, especially short term memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Experiencing difficulties with daily tasks
- Speech and language problems
- Erratic changes in mood, behaviour and personality
- Inability to concentrate
- Inappropriate interaction
- Disorientation in time, place and person
- Difficulties in recognition, understanding and comprehension
Diagnosis can be a long process because patients need to be monitored consistently and tested over time in order to confirm early dementia. The condition can be confused with other mental health issues such as depression, or with a physical condition such as a brain tumour.
Dementia is progressive and the brain becomes increasingly damaged over time therefore, the sufferer's symptoms will become worse.
Decreased levels of self esteem are especially prevalent in young dementia sufferers, which are usually linked to loss of income and independence.
The impact of early onset dementia
- May be in work at time of diagnosis
- May have dependent children still living at home
- Likely to have financial commitments
- Likely to be physically fit and behave in ways that other people find challenging
- Be more aware of their disease in the early stages
- Find it hard to accept and cope with losing skills at such a young age
- Find it difficult to access information, support and services for younger people with dementia
- Severe emotional and physical strain on the family
How Priory can help
Priory has been helping people with early onset dementia for many years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique care plan tailored to their needs. The care plan looks to embrace the whole person involving family and friends to help the person remain integrated and valued as the disease progresses.
The services offered by the Priory are usually on an inpatient basis when people are struggling to cope in their own environment. At this time the Priory team can best meet the needs of the individual and in some cases the individual may remain with the Priory until the end of their life. Rest assured that Priory staff are skilled in managing palliative care, supporting both the patient and family during this difficult time.
For more information or to request an initial assessment, please call 0845 277 4679 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Early onset dementia, please call 0845 277 4679. For professionals looking to make a referral, please