We are seeing an increase in the number of younger onset Alzheimer’s diagnoses. It’s difficult to talk about and even more difficult to discuss a safe living environment for someone who has been diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s. This article from the Alzheimer's association is an excellent resource.
Facts About Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Effects 200,000 Americans – These 200,000 Americans represent 5% of the Alzheimer’s population.
Age – Early onset AD symptoms can begin as early as the 30’s-40’s but it is more typical to begin at the age of approximately 50.
Definition –Early onset AD is defined as anyone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before the age of 65.
Hiding Symptoms – It is very common for people to try to hide the symptoms of Alzheimer’s at any age. However, those who are experiencing the symptoms at a younger than “normal” age may be more successful at doing so because people are less likely to associate the symptoms with Alzheimer’s than they would with someone older.
Cause – According to this article from the Mayo Clinic, those who experience early onset AD commonly have a genetic connection. They are more likely to have a parent or grandparent who also experienced early onset AD.
Social Losses – Because of age, there are a number of social losses and disruptions for those who experience early onset Alzheimer’s disease. It often causes loss of job, changes or loss of relationships, and friendship issues; all because people never associate the changed actions with the possibility of Alzheimer’s.
The Importance of a Safe Environment
It’s extremely important for anyone who has Alzheimer’s to have a safe and healthy environment. Promoting quality of life is important at every age.
Issues with Work – When diagnosed at an early age, chances are the patient’s family is much younger, living together at home, and active. Usually the spouse is working, as often is the person diagnosed, and this can cause problems with ensuring the safety of the person who has AD.
Children – As many couples find themselves starting families at an older age than ever before, non-adult children are often involved when someone is diagnosed with early onset AD. This may play a very important part in deciding to place your loved one into special memory care units so that your children are also safer.
Day Care – It’s difficult to explain to someone why they can’t stay home when they’re in their 50’s and 60’s if you have to leave for work each day. In some cases adult day care situations may be an answer; however, this can still cause problems as their dementia progresses.
Stronger Bodied - Because of their age, those with EOAD quite often have a stronger body and abilities associated with someone typical of their age. This can cause dangerous confrontations between family, full time caregiving spouses, and even teenagers who may not understand why mom or dad is "being weird."
Daily Battles – Let’s face it, life already has its daily battles but adding on something as difficult as Alzheimer’s into a younger family can create an atmosphere that is toxic. Implementing a plan for living where constant care, therapies, and trained specialists can be more beneficial to everyone. It removes daily drama in front of children, teens, and with spouses who are trying to figure out how to juggle everyday life.*Note: It’s a difficult decision, but the reality is quality of life is what’s important for everyone involved. Your loved one is more likely to enjoy daily interactions and activities with regular visits from family and friends.
Leaving Them at Home – Because of age you may be more likely to think that they are okay being left at home to care for themselves. The truth is that Alzheimer’s and dementia can present situations that require the surroundings to be adapted for your loved one to remain safe. You don’t want to take chances with their life.
While Senior Living Experts commonly works with senior citizens and their families; Alzheimer’s is a disease that is commonly associated with aging. Because of this we can help you discover options that would work best for your loved one who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.Photo1 by Rei Chang
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