“My best friend has just been diagnosed with dementia at the age of 58 and she is absolutely devastated. She feels like her world has been turned upside down. What can she do?”
Younger onset dementia (also called early onset dementia) refers to dementia developing before the age of 65. Many of the issues faced by people with younger onset dementia are different from people who develop dementia at an advanced age.
Planning ahead will be particularly important for them as there are likely to be many aspects of their life that will be impacted by the dementia, such as family relationships, income, work commitments, management of finances, accommodation needs and healthcare decisions.
Family members may have additional stress if they are still working and cannot find appropriate respite for the person with dementia. They will also need to make significant changes to the future life that they had previously planned.
The person with younger onset dementia needs to be supported emotionally as they come to terms with the significance of this new diagnosis. They may benefit from face-to-face and/or online support groups run by Dementia Australia and other organisations.
Someone with younger onset dementia can be referred to this start2talk website. They may need some assistance and support to use the worksheets.
The Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker service provides individualised information, support and counselling, as well as assistance finding appropriate healthcare, community and residential care services. To connect with a Younger Onset Dementia key worker in your area, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.