Any form of dementia including Alzheimer’s Disease is devastating. But when it occurs in a young person, it’s impact is even greater.
Early Onset Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in those younger than 65 years of age. Many who are diagnosed in their 40s and 50s. It is estimated to affect about 250,000 persons in the U.S.
How does Early Onset Alzheimer’s affect families?
- When the person affected has a career or job that the family depends upon, the family’s income can be at risk.
- It may also affect insurance policies, the family business, and more.
- Or maybe the person who has always been the designated caregiver suddenly may become a carereceiver. Imagine how hard that would be if it’s someone like Mom or Dad.
- Personality and behavior changes can feel like the person you love is no longer there.
- New stresses are added as the family learns about the disease and what to do about it. The family may need professional help in treating stress.
- And even if none of the above occurs, it can still change the family dynamic. Perhaps someone who never considered themselves a caregiver now needs to consider or accept that he or she is one.
- The diagnosis can also bring families together as they rally to help the ones most deeply affected.
- Some families find their voice to advocate for the person with Early Onset Alzheimer’s or any dementia, and some advocate for those outside their family who are affected. Advocacy is part of A HEART PLAN. You can get your free copy by signing up for our newsletter.
The video below shows its current and potential impact on one Irish family.
If you or someone you know has memory problems, the Alzheimers Association recommends:
- Have a comprehensive medical evaluation with a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease. Getting a diagnosis involves a medical exam and possibly cognitive tests, a neurological exam and/or brain imaging. Call your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for a referral.
- Write down symptoms of memory loss or other cognitive difficulties to share with your health care professional.
- There is no one test that confirms Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis is only made after a comprehensive medical evaluation.
Younger/Early Onset Alzheimer’s & Dementia
How has Early Alzheimer’s Disease impacted your family? Share your insights in the comments below (you need to be logged in to Facebook or Google to comment).