Young onset dementia

When a person develops dementia before the age of 65, this is known as “young onset dementia”. Recent reports suggest that young onset dementia is much more common than originally thought, with an estimated 159 per 100,000 people in Europe affected by the disease.

Young onset dementia encompasses all types of dementia. Although Alzheimer’s disease remains the most common cause of young onset dementia, other types of dementia are more common in younger people than in older adults, such as frontotemporal dementia and rare forms of dementia linked with Down’s syndrome.

Symptoms of young onset dementia

About 5% of people with Alzheimer’s dementia are diagnosed before the age of 65. People with young onset Alzheimer’s dementia often experience slightly different symptoms to those with late onset Alzheimer’s dementia. They are more likely to have problems with understanding visual information, language and with decision-making. As the disease progresses, symptoms are similar to those experienced by people with late onset Alzheimer’s dementia.