Early onset dementia

Younger people with dementia are those who are diagnosed under the age of 65. This is called early onset or young onset dementia.

Being diagnosed at a younger age may pose different challenges to those diagnosed later in life. For example, you are more likely to still be working or have responsibility for dependent children.

More information about younger people with dementia is available on the Alzheimer Scotland website.

As people live longer, there are more and more people living with dementia in Scotland. However, dementia is not just a condition affecting older people. People in their 40s or 50s or even younger can have dementia. Dementia has a profound impact on the families, friends, and the wider networks of people with dementia and they need support to help them have the best quality of life.

The causes of early onset dementia are similar to the diseases that cause dementia in older people. Younger people can experience different symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Society have information on their website about the different types of dementia that can affect younger people.

The Alzheimer’s Society have also put together some useful information about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of young-onset dementia.

Dementia and driving

Many younger people with dementia may drive and want to continue to do so. It is important that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are informed as it is a legal requirement. British law assumes that you have a right to drive. The law only intervenes when medical conditions impair driving ability.

Alzheimer Scotland’s information sheet Driving and dementia (pdf) explains everything you need to know.

Young Dementia Network

The Young Dementia Network is an online influencing community working to improve the lives of people with a young onset dementia diagnosis. The network works with a number of professional organisations including Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK. It has some really useful information about what young onset dementia is.

Useful resources

Challenging Assumptions Around Dementia is a book co-written by people with a diagnosis of young onset dementia.

I didn’t sign up for this is a podcast hosted by two women whose partners have a diagnosis of young onset dementia. They aim to reduce stigma and increase awareness by sharing their own experiences as carers.

Well I Know Now is a podcast by Pippa Kelly whose mum had a diagnosis of dementia. The podcast aims to share learning and knowledge about dementia.